Bettors make mad dash to Vegas for March Madness - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Bettors make mad dash to Vegas for March Madness

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Bettors watch an NCAA tournament game at South Point Race and Sports Book on Thursday, March 19. (FOX5) Bettors watch an NCAA tournament game at South Point Race and Sports Book on Thursday, March 19. (FOX5)
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

March Madness is upon us, and Las Vegas is reaping the benefits. College basketball fans have flown into town and filled up sports books and bars.

At the South Point Race and Sports Book, the TVs are making a lot of racket, but the fans are noticeably quiet, watching the games - and their brackets - intently.

“I am such a huge college hoops fan. I mean, where else is a better place to be than Las Vegas for March Madness? It's unbelievable,” basketball fan Matt Desarle said.

The South Point alone is hosting about 5,000 rabid fans. Oddsmakers say March Madness generates more business with each passing year.

“We all benefit here from the growth of the tournament. It's grown about 7 percent a year in the past five years. That's a huge jump in sports betting,” South Point Race and Sports Book's Jimmy Vaccaro said.

Foot traffic has been steady at McCarran International Airport, with large groups of guys eager to shell out cash for a bet.

“We're going gamble, try to win money, try to spend money, try to save money. Hopefully our favorite teams will win,” college hoops fan Quenton Charlot said.

“We did March Madness in New York two years ago. That was fun, but you miss out on that aspect of coming here and betting on the games, betting on individual statistics. You've got a whole other aspect coming out here to see the games,” said Cody Kennedy, who's visiting Las Vegas from Mississippi.

It's not just tourists wagering on the tournament. About half of the crowd at the South Point is comprised of locals. The hotel is sold out through the end of the tournament.

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