Las Vegas sports books may be running on complete overdrive these days, but you won’t find any of those folks complaining. Not when March Madness is in full swing and set to bring in record sums of money for books all over the state.
It’s only been four days since the NCAA tournament started and handle has already flown through the roof, at least according to William Hill sports book director. Speaking to the Linemakers, Vaccaro wasn’t mixing any words when gushing over the business the NCAA tournament has brought to sports books all over Las Vegas. “The first day was outstanding, and Friday was even better,” he said. “Things tailed off a bit Saturday and Sunday because of less games, but overall it’s been better than ever. I wish we could do it all over again this week.”
Considering that estimates for the tournament were pegged at around $150 million in betting handle, the staggering money that’s already being wagered has made March Madness the kind of business dream books don’t want to end. If you’re ever in Las Vegas these days, it’s no coincidence that the town is overflowing, despite no major conventions or sporting events being held in the state. That’s the power of March Madness and Las Vegas is the epicenter of the betting fever that’s only getting hotter and hotter by the day.
If there’s anybody happier than Vegas sports books these days, it’s people who love underdogs, especially those who placed bets on longshots to win. The fourth day of March Madness brought another dose of Cinderella gone amok as 15 seed Florida Gulf Coast continued its incredible NCAA run by taking down 7 seed San Diego State on its way to becoming the first 15 seed to ever make it to the Sweet 16.
Cinderella’s alive and kicking, alright, and chances are, she traded in that that gown and those glass slippers for an FGCU jersey. Vegas books took a hit on the +280 money line attached to the team and there’s no telling how many tears will be shed if the team manages to win its region – odds of that happening pre-tournament was at 1,000/1 – but the unprecedented amount of money coming in has made the blow brought about by dogs winning a little easier to bear.
And with the Sweet 16 now set, its a safe bet to expect even more money to come in as the tournament gets down to the really important games involving top seeded teams going up against each other. Three of the four 1, 2, and 3 seeds are still alive, which could make for interesting match-ups heading into the Elite 8.
On the other end of the seedings, a number of long shots are also still playing, no more prominent than FGCU. 12 seed Oregon will play top seed Louisville after disposing of 4 seed St. Louis while 9th seed Wichita State, fresh off of bouncing off top seed Gonzaga will take on 13 seed La Salle, ensuring at least one Cinderella run will end in the next few days.
The unpredictability of this year’s March Madness has already caused millions of busted brackets, but in the end, a lot of people are still riding high on this basketball roller coaster with harnesses fully locked.
And that includes Vegas sports books.