Recession? What recession?
The $98.9 million in bets for Super Bowl XLVII easily eclipsed the previous record set in 2006 when $94.5 million in bets were made on Super Bowl XL between the Seattle Seahawks and the Pittsburgh Steelers. What makes this total so surprising is that the total was generated in the middle of a recession, whereas the previous record was set before the US economy went in the tank. According to the Gaming Control Board, much of the unprecedented total was driven by fans from California – predictably considered as 49ers territory – a lot of whom flocked to Las Vegas to bet on their beloved team. Considering that California only has three teams – the Niners, the Oakland Raiders and the San Diego Chargers – the entire state, from Hollywood to Silicon Valley, had the financial means to make enormous bets on their team. ”Northern Nevada gets swamped with 49er money,” LVH book director Jay Kornegay told Fox Sports.
So it’s easy to explain why the total bets easily exceeded the $94.5 million record set in 2006. But even with the record handle for the game, Vegas sports books only had modest winnings to show for it.
Unaudited tallies have shown that the books generated profits of $7.2 million on the entire game, a number that could’ve been much bigger had a lot of the long shot prop bets not cashed in. But alas, the books also ended up on the short end of the stick (again) on the props.
Johnny Avello, director of race and sports at Wynn Las Vegas, remarked that laundry list of prop bets cashed during the game, severely denting the net revenue the books stood to make. “Everything that could’ve happened yesterday almost did,” Avello said. ”All the props – `Will this guy pass by this much?’ `Will this guy make this many receptions’ – all of those were, `Yes.”’
One in particular was the end-game safety by the Ravens, occurring only after head coach John Harbaugh instructed his punter to dance around inside the San Francisco 49ers end zone to kill precious time off the clock and take a safety when the time called for it. The play worked on the field, too, with the Ravens able to use up as much as eight seconds of the clock, forcing San Francisco to settle for a last gasp punt return before the game ended, sending the Ravens to their second Super Bowl title and sending the books to another series of 9/1 cashes from those who bet on a safety to occur during the game.
In the end, Vegas books still did relatively well given the circumstances. The $7.3 million in profit could’ve been a lot better; but ultimately, the safety proved to be the undoing of the books – again.