According to figures released Monday by the Nevada Gaming Control Board, the state’s 194 licensed sportsbooks took in $132.5m in Super Bowl wagers this year, handily beating the previous record of $119.4m set two years ago at Super Bowl XLVIII.
Betting handle may have set a record, but 2016’s big game ranked only third on the all-time win total, behind 2014’s record $19.7m and 2005’s $15.4m The books held 10.1% of this year’s Super Bowl wagers, the eighth highest rate since the state began keeping records in 1991. That’s well back of 2014’s record 16.5% hold but much better than the abysmal 2.8% the books reported last year.
The positive result marked the eighth straight year the books have turned a profit on the Super Bowl since the Giants upset the Pats in 2008, one of only two years in which the books lost money on the big game.
Early action heavily favored Carolina but both sharp and square money began flooding in on Denver starting on Wednesday. By the time kickoff was at hand, many books reported the action to be evenly split.
Prop bets proved particularly popular, and early indications are that they may have accounted for as much as 60% of total wagers. This was the first year that Nevada books took wagers on the game’s most valuable player, and bettors had a field day. Eventual winner Von Miller’s MVP odds opened at 40:1 at William Hill US before a flood of wagers narrowed that to 12:1. Other books had Miller as high as 60:1 to start.
Last year marked the third straight in which Nevada sportsbooks set a new revenue record. Nevada is the only state in the union in which single-game sports wagers are legally allowed, but other states are dying to horn in on their action.
On Feb. 17, New Jersey’s legal representatives will resume their Frodo Baggins-worthy multi-year quest at the Third Circuit Court of Appeals to bring an end to the federal PASPA sports betting prohibition. Should New Jersey fall once again short of its goal, it could be a long, long time before Nevada’s state monopoly comes to an end.