“John Murray, director of the Westgate sports book in Las Vegas, is equally optimistic. He says all signs point to the fact that sports betting, and March Madness, has roared back to life this year.
“We set a handle record in January and in February—the highest handles we’ve ever had twice just this year,” says Murray. “I see no reason at all that we won’t have a huge March Madness.””
Murray says the spike in business is due to mobile betting. About 80% of the Westgate’s business is from wagers made on a smartphone. “The mobile phone is the answer,” says Murray.
The crowd at the Westgate is not back to pre-pandemic levels, mostly due to Covid-related capacity restrictions, but the sportsbook’s volume has already surpassed 2019. “Handle-wise, we’ve already exceeded pre-pandemic levels,” says Murray. “We’re already there—I’m confident this weekend will be huge.”