Bloomberg News

Super Bowl Wagers Climb to Record $98.9 Million in Las Vegas

February 05, 2013

Super Bowl Sets Record With $98.9 Million Wagered in Las Vegas

The MVP and Super Bowl trophies are seen on Feb. 4, 2013. This year marked the sixth time that legal Super Bowl wagering in Nevada topped $90 million. Photographer: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

A record $98.9 million in Super Bowl wagers were placed at Nevada’s 183 sports books, eclipsing the previous high of $94.5 million bet on the 2006 National Football League title game.

The Baltimore Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers 34-31 two days ago in New Orleans, holding on for their second Super Bowl win after opening a 28-6 third-quarter lead.

This year marked the sixth time that legal Super Bowl wagering in Nevada topped $90 million. The $100 million mark may be next, said Todd Fuhrman, a former Caesars sportsbook analyst who’s now an industry consultant in Las Vegas.

“The sports betting handle will continue to grow moving forward because the regular bettor is much more confident when walking to the window than ever before,” Fuhrman said by e-mail. “The access to real-time information via Twitter and more widespread gambling content has created a much more savvy public.”

Nevada’s sports books, most of which are located in Las Vegas and Reno, still won $7.2 million on Super Bowl wagers, according to figures released yesterday by the state’s Gaming Control Board. The sports books have made a profit on the Super Bowl in 21 of the past 23 years.

Fuhrman said he was surprised to see a total profit of more than 7 percent, as many sports books reported a loss with the Ravens winning as underdogs and a majority of bettors wagering on a high-scoring game. The 65 combined points easily eclipsed the oddsmakers’ over/under of 49 points, the second Super Bowl in which each team scored more than 30 points.

‘Least Desirable’

Las Vegas Hotel Super Book assistant manager Jeff Sherman said after the game that the Ravens’ outright win and the “over” bet paying off for bettors was the book’s “least desirable outcome.”

Fuhrman said other sports books saw significant late money- line action on the 49ers, helping balance the wagers and giving the majority of sportsbooks another winning year overall.

According to Las Vegas-based handicapping information website Pregame.com, the late money wagered on the favored 49ers moved the point spread to 4 1/2 points at kickoff. Early action on the Ravens had pushed the line down to 3 1/2 points.

The last time Nevada’s sports books failed to make a profit on Super Bowl wagers was after the 2007 season, when the New York Giants upset the previously unbeaten New England Patriots 17-14. There was $92 million wagered in Nevada that year, with bookmakers losing almost $2.6 million.

Nevada’s previous record handle was set seven years ago, when the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Seattle Seahawks 21-10.

Although the state’s wagering on this year’s game set a record and almost hit $100 million, it amounts to less than 1 percent of the estimated $10 billion in worldwide action on the game, according to Pregame.com. If sportsbooks worldwide won at the same rate as in Nevada, it would mean bettors lost more than $720 million on the Super Bowl.

To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Matuszewski in New York at matuszewski@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net


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