Casinos throughout Pennsylvania will double as party central over the next three weeks as March Madness takes hold.
Newly opened Pennsylvania sportsbooks plan viewing parties featuring reserved seating, lots of food and drink, and plenty of opportunities to cheer your favorites and boo bad calls. Oh, and did we mention easily accessible methods to make money legally through a few smart wagers?
Even casinos without sportsbooks are getting in on the action, with basketball-related promotions offering slot free play or cash.
Pennsylvania’s regulated sports betting began in November, so this year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament will be the first for which fans can place wagers legally, and the options go far beyond filling out brackets or picking squares in the office pool.
Last year, the American Gaming Association predicted that March Madness betting would total $10 billion, with only 3 percent, or about $300 million, of that being wagered legally. That makes it the second-biggest sports betting opportunity in the United States, behind the Super Bowl.
The matchups for the men’s tournament will be set March 17. Some casinos start the viewing parties two days later, with the “First Four” game.
So, get ready for bingeing on basketball, bar food, and trash talk. Here’s a look at some of the best NCAA tournament parties and promotions in the Keystone State:
777 Harrah’s Blvd.
Chester, PA 19013
Playoffs at The Book
Fans and bettors can relish opening round action with reserved seats, food, a cash bar and a view of all the games on big-screen televisions at The Book, Harrah’s sports-betting area.
The Book, which opened in January, includes lounge seats, high-top tables, custom bar seating, and 45 large-screen televisions. Tourney-watchers can reserve seats for:
- March 21 or March 22: Noon to 6 p.m., or 6 p.m. to midnight (times approximate, depending on game length)
- March 23 or 24: Noon to midnight.
“Dream” seats cost $50 per session and include an a la carte food package and a cash bar. Bar seats and bench seats are $40 per session and also include the food package. Seats at high-top tables are $20 each, and a 6-foot long table with six seats costs $120. These final two options do not include the food package.
Mohegan Sun Pocono
1280 Highway 315
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702
Nothing But Net giveaway
Basketball sharpshooters can win slot free play or cash March 14, 21, and 28 at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Every half-hour from 4 to 10 p.m., five players will be selected to shoot up to four baskets. Each receives at least $200 in slot free play, with the prize growing for each shot made.
The Top prize is $5,000 in cash. Drawings are open to any Momentum Club member actively playing a table game or slot machine.
2999 Street Road
Bensalem, PA 19020
Watch and Bet
Fans can gather at Liberty Bell Gastropub & Beer Garden to place bets and watch all tournament games, from the First Four starting March 19 to the title game April 8.
The Liberty Bell has a 33-seat bar flanked by 14 large televisions and an 11-foot-wide LED video wall. The adjacent Beer Garden has a full bar with 24 craft brews on tap, two mammoth TV screens – one 16 feet and the other 15 feet – plus sports-betting kiosks. The Liberty Bell and Beer Garden will open at noon March 21 and 22. Game specials include:
- $9 Pub wings (Jerk, Buffalo, Lemon Rosemary)
- $9 Short rib poutine
- $9 Burgers (Short Rib, Smoke House)
- $9 Pizza (Margherita, Three Pepperoni)
- $4 Victory Prima Pils
- $4 Troegs Perpetual IPA
- $3 Bud Light
Parx also offers sports betting at its South Philadelphia Turf Club off the Packer Avenue exit off Interstate 95 and at Valley Forge Turf Club near Pennsylvania Turnpike Exit 24. Each serves food and drink and has dozens of televisions.
Shoot for the Loot
A lucky shot could score $1,000 in slot free play on March 22 at Parx. From 2 to 10 p.m. that day, one player will be chosen every 15 minutes. That player gets $250 in free play and a chance to increase that to $1,000 with basketball sharpshooting. The drawing is open to anyone with an active slot or table game rating.
1001 N. Delaware Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19125
Fans can watch games throughout the tournament at the SugarHouse sportsbook or at the casino’s Fishtown Hops restaurant/beer garden.
Watch all games from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. throughout the tournament. On high-volume days, seating will be reserved only. Reservations can be made for any day, for a minimum of four hours and a minimum food-and-beverage purchase of $50 per person, not counting tips.
Club seats must be requested for at least four hours, with a daily minimum bet per ticket. Club chair reservations must be made in person at the Sportsbook. All table reservations can be made at SugarHouseCasino.com.
The Sportsbook also offers a private viewing room, with a limit of 25 people on a first-come, first served basis. The cost of $100 per person covers taxes and tip and includes an open bar and buffet. For reservations, contact Erin Deal at 215-717-3860.
Open to guests 21 and over during every tournament game. In addition to regular menu items, the restaurant will offer:
- $5 breakfast sandwiches
- 50-cent wings
- $5 nachos
- $1 hot dogs
- $5 chicken cheese steaks
- $3 Miller Lite
On March 21, a tournament tipoff celebration will feature giveaways and other attractions.
March Mania contest
Placing a wager with the SugarHouse “QuickBet” option could get you an expense-paid trip to the Final Four in Minneapolis. QuickBet is available on the SugarHouse Casino app or through the casino website.
To be eligible, complete a QuickBet with a ticket writer in the casino sportsbook between March 11 and 2 a.m. March 24. Bettors receive one drawing entry per QuickBet transaction and must provide their name, valid email address, and address to be contacted if they win.
All entries must be placed in the drawing drum in the sportsbook. The drawing will be at 11 a.m. March 25, and the winner has 24 hours to respond to an email announcing the prize. If the winner does not respond in time, another name will be drawn. The winner will receive:
- Round-trip airfare to Minneapolis and hotel accommodations downtown
- Tickets to the semifinals and championship game
- Official VIP Lounge Access
- Official event program and souvenir
- Admittance to PRIMESport Welcome Event
Valley Forge Resort Casino
1160 First Ave.
King of Prussia, PA 19406
Pennsylvania’s newest sportsbook features 27 televisions, two sports tickers, seven teller windows, and seating for more than 30 people. No reservations are necessary to watch games there.
The 1,800-square-foot FanDuel Sportsbook at Valley Forge officially opened March 13. It’s to the left of the casino’s main entrance. FanDuel, which operates the sportsbook at The Meadowlands in New Jersey, manages the Valley Forge sportsbook in partnership with Boyd Gaming and Valley Forge Casino Resort. Hours are:
- Monday through Thursday: 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.
- Friday: 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.
- Saturday: 7 a.m. to 2 a.m.
- Sunday: 8 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Hollywood at Penn National
777 Hollywood Blvd.
Grantville, PA 17028
From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 20 and 27 on the casino floor, eight people will be randomly selected every 20 minutes to spin a March Mania wheel offering prizes of up to $1,000 in slot free play. To be eligible, you must have your Marquee Rewards cards inserted in a slot machine or have an open table game rating.
Lady Luck Nemacolin
4067 National Pike
Farmington, PA, 15437
($10 resort purchase required to enter casino)
Basketball Hot Seat
From 1 to 4 p.m. March 24, Lady Luck will give away hourly hot-seat prizes of up to $600 in cash or slot free play. Drawings will include all slot and table game seats in the casino. Hot-seat winners who are playing slots will receive free play. Those playing table games will receive cash.
If the selected hot seat is unoccupied, the winning seat will be moved one position to the left until a winner is found or all seats have been designated. If no one is playing at the selected slot bank or table, the selection process will be repeated up to two times.
777 Casino Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
March Mania viewing party
Single-day reserved seating in the sportsbook costs $75 per single chair or $200 per four-person table. The single-seat reservation comes with a $25 food and beverage gift card. Meanwhile, the table reservation includes a $100 food and beverage card.
Cash bars and concessions will be available in the Event Center, which will offer four viewing screens and on-site sports betting. Admission is free, with the option of reserving a 10-person table for $350, including a $100 food and beverage card, or single chairs for $45. The Event Center menu includes:
- Taco Salad, $8
- Grilled kielbasa sandwich, $8
- Stadium nachos, $7
- Soft pretzel, $3
- Cheesesteak, $10
- Nathan’s all-beef hot dog, $3
- Bottle of soda or water, $3
- Red Bull, $3
March Mania pick ’em
Basketball prognosticators can win slot free play, table game match play or free buffets with predictions that don’t involve filling out brackets. Until March 20, entrants can answer 10 questions about the first-round games, including:
- Will a No. 16 seed beat a No. 1 seed?
- Will more odd seeds or even seeds advance to the second round?
- Will No. 1 seeds or No. 2 seeds have more fouls?
- Will a first-round game end with a one-point victory?
- How many total points will be scored in Round 1?
The contest is available to all Rush Rewards members, with only one entry allowed per person. Entries close at 5 p.m. March 20. Winners will be announced on the Rives website on March 27. Prizes are:
- First place: $500 free slot play or match play
- Second: $200 free slot play or match play
- Third: $100 free slot play or match play
- Fourth: Two free buffets
- Fifth: $25 match play