Super Bowl generates nearly $94 million in betting handle

7 February 2012
LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- A Super Bowl that ended in disappointment for Tom Brady and the favored New England Patriots did not result in an upset of Nevada's sports books, which continued to win.
The state's wagering handle of $93.9 million represented the second-largest total in history, and the 184 books held slightly more than $5 million for a win percentage of 5.4, according to figures released Monday by the Gaming Control Board.
The New York Giants' 21-17 victory over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI on Sunday generated a handle that threatened the record of $94.5 million set in 2006.
"It was a nice way to end the season," MGM Resorts sports book director Jay Rood said. "Our handle was up 10 percent. There was room for more, but I'm not going to be greedy."
The state's books showed a win for the 16th time in 17 years. The only recent Super Bowl loss for Nevada was in 2008, when the Giants were double-digit underdogs in an upset of the Patriots.
The rematch figured to be popular with football bettors, but after Sunday's game, most sports book directors were forecasting the handle would fall short of $90 million.
"It's a surprisingly positive number considering the economy is still struggling," LVH - Las Vegas Hotel and Casino sports book director Jay Kornegay said. "I guess that shows how strong the NFL is these days."
Cantor Gaming, MGM Resorts and the South Point Hotel Casino and Spa were among the books reporting the strongest surges in handle over last year, when $87.5 million was bet on Green Bay's victory over Pittsburgh.
"We ended up being a small winner on the day. You can't complain," said Mike Colbert, the Cantor sports book director at M Resort.
Kornegay said the LVH took no six-figure wagers. By contrast, Colbert said Cantor Gaming accepted one $1 million wager and two for $500,000.
"In some ways, the game was a bookmaker's dream when you are getting balanced action, for the most part," Kornegay said. "The books who were going from 2½ to 3 (on the point spread) at times were getting some big pops."
South Point sports book director Bert Osborne repeatedly moved the line for two weeks, drawing action on the Patriots at minus-2½ and on the Giants at plus-3.
If the Patriots had won by 3 points, Kornegay said the result "could have been a disaster" for some books because of refunds and payouts on both sides. The Giants opened as 3½-point underdogs at most spots.
Brady led the Patriots to a 17-9 lead early in the third quarter. But, similar to the Super Bowl of four years ago, Eli Manning topped him again and guided the Giants to the winning score in the last minute.
Jimmy Vaccaro, director of operations for Lucky's sports books, was more impressed by the halftime show.
"The highlight of the game was Madonna," Vaccaro said. "I kind of liked it. It was a big-time production."

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