D’IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - When it comes to sports betting, the biggest game in town is underway. The NCAA basketball tournament tipped off Thursday, and March Madness is drawing people into Mississippi sports book operations. That translates into big bucks for Coast casinos. It’s going to be a huge next couple of weeks.
DraftKings at Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort in D’Iberville was packed on a weekday with March Madness in the air. People were lining up to place bets. With so many teams and so many games, this college basketball tournament creates as much of a buzz as any sporting event.
“March Madness is the biggest in terms of dollar amount spent on it. Bigger than the Super Bowl actually. Super Bowl is just one game. March Madness has many games throughout the tournament. Even the first opening four days of it, the amount of money coming in is bigger than the Super Bowl,” said DraftKings Director of Regional Operations Frank Kunovic.
This is the first year bettors have been able to play legally after the Supreme Court’s decision to lift the ban outside of Las Vegas. The atmosphere was electric with bettors trying to win some money and have some fun. It’s all entertainment.
“I love March Madness. It brings so many people. It’s good for the economy bringing people here to bet,” said sports bettor Kenneth Brown.
According to the website Legal Sports Report, 4.1 million people will wager at a legal retail outlet, and the tournament could attract more than $400 million in legal bets nationwide. That is good news for South Mississippi casinos.
DraftKings at Scarlet Pearl and all other sports books go all out to create an atmosphere for sports fans surrounded by TVs in lounges featuring an array of food and drink specials. It also bodes well for tourism with people coming in from around the region to get in on the action.
It’s a nice blend of locals and out of state visitors
“We have a pretty good mix. A lot of locals, familiar faces we see everyday. The hotel is 100 percent occupied this weekend. A little bit of both,” said DraftKing at Scarlet Pearl’s Brad Carpenter.
Locally, there is even more interest in March Madness with both Ole Miss and Mississippi State in the tournament.