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Harrah's Entertainment Banking on March Madness Gambling

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According to a recent report covering Harrah's Entertainment, total wagers during the NCAA college basketball March Madness tournament hovers around $7+ billion, eclipsing the total bets on the Superbowl. Obviously, the March Madness tournament is spread over a 3-week period and involves 65 teams, as opposed to being a single-day championship like the NFL.

The only place its legal in the US for sportsbooks is in Nevada, which is home to a $2.4 billion regulated industry. Companies like Harrah's Entertainment will reap much of the benefits. The sports book itself doesn’t make up much of a casino’s revenues, only about 3%. And just 1.5% of overall gaming revenues each year come from betting on sports.

Most betting on the tournament is done illegally, more than $3 billion changes hands in corporate office pools across the country and billions more are bet online or with local bar-room bookies.

“For companies like Harrah's Entertainment, the value to sportsbooks is not the bets that run through it, but is in the extent it brings people to Las Vegas to spend a lot of money on a lot of other things,” like hotel bookings, restaurants, bars, entertainment and gambling in other parts of the casino, says one gaming expert.

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