NCAA basketball expected to boost local economy

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Updated: 3/17 10:42 pm
RENO, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) -- March Madness has arrived and several local casinos are preparing for the big games.

The 2014 NCAA men's basketball tournament officially begins on Tuesday, and local casinos are ready for the big crowds.

"Just expecting it to be extremely busy," said Atlantis Casino Sports Book Manager Steve Mikkelson. "This event continues to grow every single year, it's just outstanding."

"Expect a lot of people, it's one of the biggest sporting events for betting there is of the year," said Chase Stigall, Executive Director for the El Dorado Casino. "It's going to be a madhouse down here, we're looking forward to it."

Both the El Dorado and Atlantis Casinos tell us March Madness is like a second Super Bowl for them, and it has a big economic impact on our area.

"In fact it might even be bigger than the Super Bowl, because so people and so many different games to bet, and it last four days long for this weekend and it's a two week tournament," said Stigall.

Although both Nevada or UNLV did not make March Madness this year, local casinos do not think that will affect local betting.
 
"You know it's unfortunate that neither Nevada team is in it," said Stigall. "But I don't think it's going to affect it at all, it's going to be a great weekend."

"You know when they would play in the tournament, you know obviously you would get a good crowd yelling and screaming for that individual game," added Mikkelson. "But the games are always so great and everybody has such a big interest in it."

Several casinos around town are offering food and drink specials throughout the tournament. and the big betting days are expected to begin Thursday, and go through the weekend.

If you're interested in betting on first-round games, they start Tuesday night.
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