No event generates more wagering for Las Vegas sportsbooks than March Madness, and it appears bettors will have a centrally located option back in play for opening weekend.
The sportsbook at Park MGM — the newly transformed incarnation of the Monte Carlo — could be ready for the first days of the men’s NCAA basketball tournament, according to Vegas insider Marc Meltzer.
A representative from MGM’s public relations office on Monday could not confirm for Legal Sports Report that opening date for the new sportsbook.
March Madness means millions for Vegas
Last year’s NCAA tournament contributed to the largest March handle in state history for Nevada sports betting, with $475 million wagered. More than 90 percent of that money was bet on basketball, though the total includes the NBA.
Estimates from the American Gaming Association indicate Americans wager nearly $300 million legally on March Madness every year. That figure pales in comparison to the $10.4 billion that the AGA believes is bet overall with offshore books or American bookies.
Another estimate puts the amount flowing through offshore books at a lower figure.
Why Park MGM matters
Park MGM is the closest Las Vegas casino to T-Mobile Arena. That’s the 20,000-seat facility that is home to the NHL’s Las Vegas Golden Knights. The arena sits across a couple of driveways from the hotel, which opened in 1996 as the Monte Carlo.
The great majority of the resort’s rooms are renovated to the Park’s sleek, modern style. However, the company still lists spring 2018 as the official opening date for the new brand.
The aging property began a $450 million overhaul in 2016. The project will take it from a mid-level hotel in the MGM portfolio to a chic, higher-end resort within the company’s most significant recent investment area.
Plenty of traffic expected
The Golden Knights are the first major professional sports team in Las Vegas. So far, it’s the most successful expansion franchise in North American sports history. The team has sold out every game this season, with an average attendance of nearly 18,000 per game. That’s full arena capacity for hockey.
During the first weekend of March Madness, the Golden Knights will play three home games. That should create massive foot traffic in the Park corridor and a natural flow of bettors to the new sportsbook.