Bookies KO bettors!

Jun 11, 2002 10:29 AM

Las Vegas sports books parlayed Mike Tyson’s crumble and War Emblem’s stumble into a huge Super Saturday payday.

"The money kept coming in on Tyson, but Harrah’s decided to keep the line (Lewis —190, Tyson +150) as it was," said Rio race and sports director Dave Pemberton.

"We had some bets of $9,000 and $5,000 on Tyson right up to the start of the fight," Pemberton said. "We get our orders from Harrah’s and they stayed firm with the number, which turned out to be great for us. We just sat on it."

A betting line —190 is equivalent to odds of 100-to-190, which means a player would have to bet $190 to win $100 (plus the return of his bet).

Conversely, a line of +150 is equivalent to 150-to-100, so that a $100 bet would return $150 (plus the return of the original bet).

The mood was equally upbeat at The Venetian and Suncoast, where most of the early money went toward Tyson and the crowds that filled the respective books for the Belmont stuck around for the fight.

"We went down from minus $2.00 to $1.70 on Lewis," said Mark Goldman, director of race and sports at the Venetian. "Most of the sentiment was for Tyson, but it changed by the third round. The late money was coming on Lewis."

Eddie Ricca, director of race and sports at the Suncoast said Lewis-Tyson was "one of the most highly wagered fights in a long time."

"Call it the Tyson mystique, but everyone had opinions," Ricca said. "There was enough two-way action that it was fun booking the fight. In the early going the bets were on Tyson, then switched to Lewis late."

Unlike Harrah’s, the sheer volume of bets caused the line to move.

"We had to budge," Ricca said. "We went from minus $2.00 (Tyson +170) to Lewis minus $1.80 (+160). It was a fun night. People were betting rounds 1-12 for knockouts."

The Suncoast was already riding high from the Belmont, where War Emblem’s gallant but failed attempt at the Triple Crown resulted in one person winning a $1 box Superfecta worth $72,000.

"That person did not want to be identified, but there was a lot of happiness" Ricca said. "Belmont produced one of the biggest crowds we’ve ever had. Most people were pulling for War Emblem, but the result did not do major damage to us."

Pemberton said that the Rio was jammed for the Belmont and it carried over to the pay-per-view showing of the fight, which was going for $99, including food and drinks.

"I heard we had about 300-to-400 people at the Pavilion," Pemberton said. "They were all rooting for Tyson. I heard a lot of people said they would drink $100 worth of liquor."