Coast casinos enjoy flock of bettors thanks to NCAA March Madness Tournament
BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - You can’t think of March without thinking of the madness that comes with the bracket.
A big part of what makes the madness? The money spent.
It’s estimated that Americans will bet more than $3 billion on the NCAA Tournament. The action was on full display in Coast casinos during the first full day of the tournament.
Every screen in the Palace Sportsbook displays hoops, and every play on those screens could make the difference in who takes home the big bucks. When a team like Furman pulls the unlikely upset, it adds to the excitement.
“Wow, it was outstanding,” said Johnapher Salter. “The whole place went wild when he hit that shot. It’s a great atmosphere. This is the place to be today.”
With games starting at 11 a.m. and continuing late into the night, the first two days of March Madness make for possibly the busiest weekdays of the year for the sportsbook.
“As you can tell, we’re loving it,” said Molly McFadden. “We’ve got a great atmosphere and great crowd. Usually on a Thursday, we don’t have a crowd like this in here, but because it’s March Madness, it’s pretty crazy.”
The thrill that comes with the action brought people like Mark Delise all the way from Baton Rouge.
“We used to go to Vegas, but the price was getting too high, so we come to Biloxi,” said Delise.
Like Delise, John Schultze and his group from Houston have chanhed their March tradition, coming to the Coast every year since sports betting was legalized. This year, they’re able to cheer on their Texas A&M Aggies.
“It’s actually a tradition we started about five years ago,” said Schultze. “We started going to Vegas, and since then we’ve been looking for a place to bet each round of the tournament, and we decided that Biloxi is the place we’d love coming to.”
As for who’s the most popular bet, the money is staying with the SEC and the overall #1 seed.
“Roll Tide,” said Salter. “I hate Alabama, but I think they’re going to win it all.”
Alabama is off to a good start after defeating Texas A&M-Corpus Christi by a score of 96-75 to advance to the Round of 32.
You can watch the tournament action on WLOX CBS with a full slate of games scheduled to take place over the next three days.
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