Thousands of NFL fans from across the country made their way to Las Vegas to watch this weekend’s NFC and AFC championship games.
#LasVegas sportsbooks are PACKED today, thanks to the @NFL championship games! Fans from out of town flocked to places like the @WestgateVegas @LVSuperBook. Tonight after the game on @8NewsNow, we ask fans what brought them here & what we can expect for the #SuperBowl. #8NN pic.twitter.com/JiTyVfwC5I— Orko Manna (@orko_manna) January 21, 2019
Local sportsbooks were packed and became a fantasy land for football fans.
“It’s like sports on steroids,” said Andrew Murray, who is visiting Las Vegas from New York.
Murray was among the 2,200 NFL fans who watched the NFC and AFC championships games at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook Sunday. That is about 1,000 more people than a normal NFL game day. It is an experience Murray will not forget.
“It’s like what I’ve read about in terms of ultimate comfort,” Murray said. “And being able to see the game at all times, yet relax at the same time, it’s kind of a cool little blend.”
Several out-of-town fans made their way to Las Vegas this weekend — and they had a wide range of reasons.
“There’s nothing like it. I mean, it’s exciting,” said JD Dreher, who is visiting Las Vegas from Kansas City. “We come out to watch the game and bet on the game… come out to Vegas, watch the game. Plus, when you’re back in Kansas City, it’s like 2 degrees and it’s 50 out here.”
Westgate SuperBook staff say they prepared for the crowds.
“This is actually one of the biggest weekends of the year for us,” said Jay Kornegay, Executive Vice President of Race and Sports Operations for the Westgate SuperBook. “A great weekend for Las Vegas, as we’ve had the Pacquiao fight, we had the Knights game last night… and of course we have the championship games today.”
Even with how busy this MLK weekend was, Las Vegas sportsbooks like at the Westgate are gearing up for an even bigger Super Bowl Sunday.
“It’s obviously one of the biggest days that we have and we’ve set records in handle in the state of Nevada over the last three, four years. And last year, Nevada books handled just over 158 million, which is 20 million over 2017. Looking forward to this year’s Super Bowl, I’m sure that we’re going to surpass that,” Kornegay said.
And visitors say they will come back.
“I’ll be here,” Murray said.