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Score a narrow Super Bowl win for Nevada casinos

Statewide, the casinos come out $724,000 ahead, out of $87.5 million bet. The outcome isn't as happy at some Las Vegas establishments.

February 08, 2011|By Lance Pugmire
  • Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers celebrates the Packers' 31-25 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV on Sunday.
Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers celebrates the Packers' 31-25… (Ron T. Ennis / MCT )

As well as the public fared in betting on the Super Bowl at Las Vegas' largest properties, Nevada nevertheless claimed a slight victory over gamblers when the big game's final numbers were released Tuesday.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board reported that of the $87.5 million bet on the game across the state, casinos won $724,000 in the face of victory by the popular Green Bay Packers and a 56-point game that hurt Las Vegas' need for the total points to be fewer than 45.

Super Bowl betting: An article in the Feb. 9 Sports section about the results for Nevada casinos from betting on this year's Super Bowl said a $10 parlay bet in a Nevada sports book paid $56. A standard winning $10 parlay pays the bettor a $26 profit. —

"I guess some of the smaller properties fared a little better than our large network of properties that took on a ton of public money," said Jay Rood, director of the MGM Resorts' Race and Sports Book, which oversees 11 popular destinations, including MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, the Mirage and Treasure Island.

"We lost — the biggest Super Bowl loss we've had since I can remember."

Nevada's darkest Super Bowl was in 2008, when the New York Giants upset the New England Patriots and state casinos lost more than $2.5 million.

Rood didn't disclose his figure, but his pain was shared by his peer at the Las Vegas Hilton, Jay Kornegay, who said, "You want a win on Super Bowl Sunday, just because of all the work, time and effort you put into it. That wasn't the case."

Super Bowl betting was up in Nevada's 183 books from last year, when just more than $82 million was bet. At the Mirage, the sports book attracted hundreds willing to stand in 30-people-deep lines and remain standing throughout the game.

"Our group is not the reason the United States is in a recession," Matt Lowe, 34, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, said Sunday.

Many of Lowe's friends and those around him had financial windfalls Sunday, as the Packers covered the 2 1/2-point spread with a 31-25 victory, and Steelers bettors hedged some of their losses by swarming to make a winning bet that the black and gold would cover the 2 1/2 points they were favored by in second-half scoring.

The Nevada profit was slight, representing less than 1% of total dollars bet, and falling far short of the $6.9-million profit from the 2010 game.

Kornegay said Nevada's narrow margin was made possible only because of the inclusion of dollars bet on longshot parlay cards, where gamblers try to guess correctly on four to 10 proposition bets such as an over-under on the total of Hines Ward catches, total fumbles, etc.

More significant, the Super Bowl number also includes all Super Bowl champion "future" bets that were made on all 32 NFL teams since the end of last season, Kornegay said.

Las Vegas knew in December, for instance, that the San Diego Chargers wouldn't win the Super Bowl, but dollars bet on the team from post-Super Bowl 2010 through the Chargers' elimination game were factored in by the state for Tuesday's report. Same with the other 30 non-Super Bowl competitors.

Throw out that money, Kornegay said, "and I don't know how you couldn't have lost quite a bit on the game itself, like we did.... At least we had a good season overall."

MGM gave bettors a 14-page sheet of possible Super Bowl proposition bets, such as whether Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers would throw for 31 1/2 yards more than Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger (he did), and Rood said "the prop bets might've been more beneficial elsewhere, or those smaller casinos may have beat a bigger play that dictated if they won or lost."

Kornegay said there was almost an equal number of tickets bet on the Packers and Steelers at the Hilton. Rood revealed similar figures in the MGM war room at the Mirage before Sunday's kickoff.

What warped things, Kornegay said, was the big Packers bettors' strong tendency to parlay their team bet by also gambling on the over-45 points total. A winning $10 parlay bet on Packers and the over paid $56.

"We don't book it on who we think is going to win, but by where the money is going," Kornegay said. "We would've won in three of four scenarios, just not Packers to the over."

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