Super Bowl weekend is really all about Vegas

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Let me tell you Las Vegas, wow you put on one hell of a show.

It doesn’t matter the event, you always make it epic and the place to be. Sunday’s Super Bowl was no different.

I almost feel sorry for the people who went to Phoenix, spending $10,000 per ticket. For $10,000 alone, a couple could have been treated like kings in Las Vegas for the Super Bowl, which turned out to be a great game.

The only thing that wasn’t great about the Patriots’ thrilling 28-24 win was the sports books’ win. Several books reported great handle that could rival the record $119 million handled last year, but the record $19 million win from last year appears very safe.

“We won’t set the record for win in the state this year,” said Wynn Las Vegas’ John Avello, “but based on what we handled here, I could see us setting a record for handle.”

The Seahawks had opened as a 2.5-point favorite two weeks ago, but within 24 hours of the opening number, most had the Patriots favored. The number held up until about 48 hours before kickoff when Seattle money started to pour in.

Many sports books found themselves dead even on handle by the time the game kicked off, which left most in a position to not being able to win too much.

 

“We did okay, but if this was 1985 without the props we’d be having a rough day,” said South Point’s Bert Osborne. “We overcame the all-way teaser and also the Patriots to OVER combination. By the time kickoff

came, we actually needed Seattle.”

The all-way teaser win proved to be the back-breaker at all the sports books. A book can’t win when a betting option doesn’t lose. When any bettor walks to the window with any teaser combination and wins, it’s going to be a long day.

“We had some huge bets on the Patriots so the day didn’t go so well for us even after futures and props were factored in,” said Avello.

Avello said he had one wager at seven figures on the Patriots and several others at six.

“We had several six-figure bets on each side, but a few more on the Patriots. The second half didn’t help us either. We lost to that as well.”

MGM Resorts chain of 10 sports books along the Las Vegas Strip showed a small profit on the day despite paying out a seven figure Patriots bet, but most of the win came from their future wagers where they pulled in seven figures.

“The write was outstanding, maybe even better than last year, but we couldn’t overcome the all-way teaser win and parlay everyone had to the OVER,“ said MGM‘s Jay Rood.

South Point’s Bert Osborne was in the same boat.

“We lost on the teasers and the parlays didn’t go well either, but we made enough from the futures, parlay cards and props to show a profit. It was decent day.”

The Stratosphere’s chain of books had the same results as well.

“We were a small winner on the day,” said Stratosphere assistant manager Hugh Citron, “but most of it came from the props and futures. The all-way teaser and Patriots to OVER was a back-breaker for us.”

The Westgate SuperBook had the luxury of 60 percent of their Super Bowl handle coming on their massive list of props which negated the loss on the game, but they still felt the sting.

“The worst-case scenario for us was Patriots to OVER,” said the SuperBook’s Jay Kornegay on Sunday night, “but we’re still grading all the props (350 props), and we should show a small profit. Without props, it would have been a bad day. This is the most balanced Super Bowl action on the side I’ve ever seen since booking the game. I‘ve never seen it so balanced before.”

If Russell Wilson doesn’t throw an interception at the end of the game and Seattle was able to score, it would have good for the books just because of the UNDER portion of the teaser losing.

“I still can’t believe that Seattle with the best running-back football in the final moments and the game on line didn’t use him,” said Osborne.

Final numbers from the state will be announced on Monday afternoon (after GT went to press), but most books I talked with said they wrote just as much as last year or even better. However, the final win/loss figures will be much smaller than the $19 million won last year.

Before we give credit for the books not winning too much, we need to look at the broader picture of what happened in the entire Las Vegas scene. There was a reported 307,000 people in town for the game, but I think most of those figures were based on room occupancy from Friday.

I was doing my exercise routine at Sunset Park on Sunday morning and saw an airplane land every three minutes with several on board likely coming to town just for a quick Super Bowl experience. We can’t calculate just how many people were in town for the weekend, but it was definitely more than the amount Phoenix had for their big game.

So big deal, the sports books didn’t win that much. But how about the spillover effect from winning bettors eating, drinking and gambling at all the other outlets throughout the casino?

If the books catch any flack over not doing so well for the Super Bowl, the response from the book should be that they want a commission from each department that showed higher revenues from last year.

The bottom line is that these people that visited Las Vegas over the weekend came here because of the betting. Nowhere else on the planet creates such a vibe.

Everyone wants to be here and it’s all because of the betting. So before a club manager, slot director or pit boss start praising themselves for a huge weekend, they should immediately give praise to the sports book for driving the revenue.

That’s just my opinion and the other sports book guys didn’t express the same feelings. However, when you have a massive win like last year and budgeted numbers for 2015 don’t match up, there will be some criticism.

So the final analysis is despite not faring too well in the Super Bowl, the books hit a home run. They were the driving force behind all the wonderful things that happened in Las Vegas over the weekend.

To all the ticket writers, supervisors and managers around town, let me just give a big ‘thank you’ for your efforts over the last two weeks. You all are the best ambassadors we have in Las Vegas and every guest in town had the time of their life.

Micah Roberts is a former Las Vegas race and sports book director, one of The Linemakers on SportingNews.com , and longtime motorsports columnist and sports analyst at GamingToday. Follow Micah on Twitter @MicahRoberts7 Contact Micah at [email protected].

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