Bookies eye Super day

Feb 6, 2007 4:56 AM

Super Bowl XLI as a betting event was a huge success in Las Vegas, even if the quality left much to be desired.

"It’s was a stinker as far as an overall game," said John Avello, director of race and sports operations at Wynn Las Vegas. "For betting purposes, it was exciting. I know we did well."

The state estimate of the Super Bowl’s handle and amount won by Nevada sports books wasn’t available at press time Monday. But the figures will be available on the GamingToday.com web site beginning Wednesday.

Nevertheless, a top Gaming Control Board official told GamingToday that he "wouldn’t be surprised" if the overall handle topped $100 million, which would be a new record.

Last year’s handle of $94.5 million established the current record.

In addition to the amount of money bet, sports directors are expecting a solid "win" percentage — based on the amount of money left behind after all winning wagers are paid.

Last year, the Super Bowl generated a 9.3 percent win, down from the 17 percent they won the previous year.

This year, not only did Wynn Las Vewgas win at the tellers’ windown, but exulted in the Colts’ 29-17 victory over the Bears, which covered the -6½ chalk and luckily went under the posted total of 47½

"A lot of coaches would have kicked the field goal in the end, but not that one (Tony Dungy)," Avello said. "You figure with 30 points scored in the first half that the over is in good shape. But, that wasn’t the case here."

Avello agreed that the betting handle was heavy and could exceed last year’s $94 million total across the state.

"I don’t know if it will reach $100 million this year, but the trend is toward breaking through that barrier soon," he said. "The crowds were very good. The Super Bowl is really an unbelievable atmosphere. There is good horse race action in the morning, then overflow crowds leading up to the kickoff."

Perhaps the biggest surprise among Vegas books was the steady stream of support for Chicago, which caused the line to drop from the opening -7 to -6½ versus the Indianapolis.

"I sure didn’t think the line would come off of 7," said Mario Jackson, supervisor/writer at the Fiesta Henderson. "Not kicking the field goal at the end saved us as far as the total. We had the over at 48 and went down to 47½. It’s the first Super Bowl we’ve hosted here since remodeling the book and the response was great."

The total actually dropped a full two points at Wynn, closing at 47½.

"There was always betting excitement in this Super Bowl," Avello said. "The Colts basically took a conservative approach in the second half, just wanting to win and get out. The rain probably had a lot to do with the game being so sloppy in terms of turnovers, but the crowds were into it.

"At the end, the Bears pretty much called it a game on the final drive," Avello said. "Grossman sputtered, as he had much of the season. All I know is, all of us in the book woke up happy today."

Translated for many Nevada bookmakers: they’ll be able to collect their annual bonus!