March Madness brings more visitors to Reno

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Updated: 3/20 6:53 pm
RENO, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) -- Reno casinos are growing in popularity for the NCAA Tournament each year. But how does the local service match up against those down south in Las Vegas?

March Madness fanatics inside the local resorts grow in size each year, and sports book officials attribute northern hospitality to the numbers. Even if it is just once a year, sometimes you just want to go where everybody knows your name.

Eldorado Hotel and Casino expects 2,000 sports book visitors for the 2014 Tournament, 25% more than last year's totals. "We have the same guys keep coming back every year and their group gets bigger and bigger and bigger," said Director of Player Development Chase Stigall.

Five years ago, the Eldorado decided to market itself to the March Madness demographic. Stigall said casino floor congestion grows 25% each year. "We take care of them every year, we get to know them, they are friends, we wait for their phone calls."

This is Reno: Year Three for a group from Seattle. The once-Vegas regulars decided to fly north one spring, when Sin City became too impersonal and packed for the group. "We started looking into Reno," said Brett Ogin. "I had been here before for some other things and we just decided let's give it a try and if it doesn't work out, the next year we can always go back to Vegas."

They found hospitality through friendly service, table reservations and overall care throughout the weekend. "When you go down, you have to find a spot, it's hard to get so we just kind of said 'screw it' and come back here and Eldorado takes care of us," said Johnnie Uzzell.

"We're going to be giving southern Nevada here a fight pretty soon with this sense of choice," added Stigell.

How many years does the Seattle group plan on coming to Reno for the tournament, with possible families and personal lives taking the spotlight? One of the guys laughed, and said, "I plan on taking my kid here once he turns 21."

It is safe to say Reno has customers for life.
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