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Football Gambling: Nevada Sports Books Take Record Wagers On Super Bowl

Despite Heavy Betting, Books Nearly Lose On The Big Game


The nearly 200 sports books statewide in Nevada took $158.5 million in bets on last Sunday’s Super Bowl, according to a news release from gaming regulators.

The handle was an all-time high, beating the record of $138.4 million that was set in 2017. However, the result of the game definitely wasn’t a good one for the books.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board reported that the books won just $1.1 million off those wagers, which represents a paltry win percentage of 0.7 percent. Philadelphia defeated New England by a score of 41-33. The Patriots were the favorites by less than a touchdown, and the over-under line was 48.5 points. Bettors reportedly favored the over.

The revenue on the 2018 Super Bowl was the lowest since the books won just $724,000 when Green Bay defeated Pittsburgh by six points in 2011. The last time the books lost on the Super Bowl was in 2008, when they were in the red $2.5 million after the New York Giants upset the Patriots 17-14 and spoiled their perfect season.

Here’s a look at the results from the last 10 Super Bowls, courtesy of the GCB.

The $158.5 million in wagers, although a record for the Silver State, paled in comparison to what the casino industry said was bet through illicit channels. According to the American Gaming Association, around $4.76 billion was bet nationwide on the big game.

Thanks to the black market’s size, the casino industry wants sports betting to be legalized and regulated across the country. The U.S. Supreme Court is currently mulling over whether or not to open the door for all 50 states to have sports books. According to the AGA, the Supreme Court will “likely” declare the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 unconstitutional.

Though the legal landscape is about to change, the NFL still does not support reform to federal law on the activity. Commissioner Roger Goodell said in an interview the week of the Super Bowl that the league is “going to protect the integrity of the game.”

Nevada sports books generated $248.7 million in revenue from $4.8 billion worth of wagers in 2017, both of which were all-time highs for the state. Football accounted for $78.9 million of the revenue on $1.7 billion of the drop.