Las Vegas goes all out for March Madness. Basketball fans will find viewing parties on the Strip and downtown — and they'll be able to bet on their favorite teams too.
The Final Four college basketball teams — South Carolina vs. Gonzaga and Oregon vs. North Carolina — play the semifinals in Phoenix on Saturday. Winners face off in a final game Monday to crown the 2017 NCAA champs.
With dozens of screens, more than 100 beers and great views of the Bellagio fountains, the bar will be welcoming guests with food specials that include a Shock Top bratwurst with caramelized onions and sauerkraut. It's also serving a special burger topped with Goose Island beer-candied bacon, cheddar cheese, BBQ sauce, onion rings and jalapeño slaw.
Food and beverage packages are available starting at $125 per person. Info: Beer Park, (702) 444-4500
There will be plenty of action on and off the court in downtown Vegas. Through Monday, the Fremont Street Experience is transformed into "Downtown Hoopstown," with basketball-themed presentations on the 1,500-foot-long video screen canopy that covers the pedestrian mall.
For $1 a throw, fans can demonstrate their skills in the High Hoops Zone, where shootouts will feature 20-, 25- and 30-foot hoops.
The hotel's owner has already lost a big chunk of change on his bet that the University of Michigan would win the championship. On March 19, Derek Stevens wagered $12,500 on his alma mater, a wager that would have paid $1 million. But the Wolverines were defeated by the Oregon Ducks 69-68 on March 23.
Now about those bets. How much does Vegas stand to gain?
Americans will wager more than $10 billion on March Madness, 13% over last year, according to the American Gaming Assn.
"Of the $10.4 billion that will be wagered on the tournament in 2017, only about $295 million – or 3% – will be wagered legally through Nevada sports books," an organization statement says.