Sportsbooks, resorts gear up for March Madness 

Nevada casinos that offer sports betting are gearing up for March Madness, the annual college men’s basketball tournament, offering incentives for sports betting enthusiasts.

Congress passed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in 1992, effectively making sports betting legal in only four states, including Nevada.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board reports football’s Super Bowl betting amounted to $82.7 million last year, and around $142 million was bet on all college basketball — a chunk of which was March Madness.

“The consensus is the 10 days of March Madness is a close second to the Super Bowl,” said Terry Cox, director of race, sports and keno at the Peppermill Hotel Resort.

Nevada sportsbooks are capitalizing on that sports interest.

“We think Bay Area college basketball fans will find that coming to Reno is a viable, affordable alternative to Las Vegas, especially this year,” said Michael Traum, public relations manager at John Ascuaga’s Nugget Casino Resort. “No airport hassle, the drive is infinitely shorter, and, of course, you can legally bet on every game in the tournament.

“We’re focusing our attention on the first- and second-round games, and have built some incredibly attractive room packages around those four days of action.”

The Nugget has multiple-night packages at discounted rates with incentives for gambling, food, drinks and shopping.

Sportsbook players at the Peppermill can take advantage of special $1,000-a-day giveaways for the 10 days of the tournament.

Bill Hughes, Peppermill’s director of casino marketing operations, urged players to join Peppermill’s Passport Players Club, which tracks sports betting and all gaming and can lead to free and discounted rooms and other incentives.

The Peppermill has a March Mania Hoops Party. “It’s just a fun place to be, especially the first four days. The electricity is unbelievable. You’ve got 300-400 people screaming and shouting at 95 TVs, every single one of the games is on TV,” Cox said.

Both casinos have remodeled their sports books.

The Peppermill is a pioneer in offering Internet access at its 71 “carrels” with individual monitors, so bettors can watch the game on a big high-definition TV and track box score stats.


John Ascuaga’s Nugget Casino Resort

1100 Nugget Ave., Sparks, Nev.

Phone: (800) 648-1177

On the Web:


Peppermill Hotel Casino

2707 S. Virginia St., Reno, Nev.

Phone: (866) 821-9996

On the Web:

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Al Pacciorini

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