Super Bowl was a tie for bettors, clubs
Sunday’s Super Bowl between the St. Louis Rams and the Tennessee Titans was a memorable game that ended with the Titans a yard from a potential tie and an overtime chance to take the game.
The Rams won 23-16, matching the seven-point spread for bets on the winner.
“The volume (of bets) was similar to prior years,” said Skip Sayre, director of marketing for Harrah’s Lake Tahoe. “But there was a lot of interest. It certainly was an entertaining game. It was the best one we’ve had here in three years.”
Entertainment aside, it wasn’t the most profitable game for the casinos. Everyone who bet on one team or the other received refunds since no one beat the point spread. That kept the staff at the sports books hopping well into the evening.
“It was hectic,” Harveys Resort & Casino Race and Sports Book Supervisor Dave Cudney said. “(We were giving refunds) from the time the Super Bowl ended until about midnight.”
Gaming-wise, “It isn’t any fun for anyone when it lands on the point spread. It’s a lot of work.”
Caesars Tahoe came away from the game as a “small loser,” said Kristie Sheltra, the casino’s advertising/public relations manager. “We had a huge influx of people coming in to get a refund.”
Fortunately for the casinos, the simple winner/loser bet isn’t the only game in town. Proposition bets are very popular during the Super Bowl.
At Harveys Resort & Casino, many bets were made on whether or not a team would score three times in a row before the other team scored. Most bets said no, but it happened in Super Bowl XXXIV, Cudney said, allowing the casinos to hang on to most of those wagers.
Those who put their money on rushing yards by Tennessee’s Eddie George – 95 yards on 28 carries – were also winners, Sheltra said.
Another nail-biter prop was whether any touchdowns would be made during the game, a 125 to 1 bet at Caesars.
“It came close because there wasn’t a touchdown until well into the third quarter,” Sheltra said.
The Super Bowl is considered the biggest event of the year for sports betting.
“The Super Bowl is the only individual sporting event that we go out and get numbers for,” said Nevada Gaming Control Board spokesman Frank Streshley.
According to a report released by the board on Wednesday, sports books statewide received $71 million worth of wagers on Super Bowl XXXIV, of which casinos kept 6 percent for a $4.2 million profit for the event. Figures for individual regions are not available.
Wagers for the year 2000 event were down 6.9 percent statewide from 1999 and also down from the record high of $77.2 million in wagers in 1998. Casinos did not keep much of the money wagered in 1998, only 0.6 percent or $472,033 that year.
Despite a down year in 2000 compared to last year, the decade has shown a fairly steady increase in wagers from 1991 when $40 million was bet on the game.
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