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Nevada sports books lost $8.25M on football in January

The house doesn’t always win on football.

Nevada sports books lost $8.25 million on football bets in January, according to a monthly revenue report released recently by the state’s gaming control board.

The $8.25 million loss, which includes wagers on the NFL and college football, was the largest in-season loss suffered by Nevada sports books since October 2012, when bettors won $6.2 million on the sport. January was the second-worst in-season month on football ever tracked by the state, behind November 2005, when the books lost $11.3 million.

The betting public buried the books in the college football national championship game, pounding underdog Clemson on the money line, which closed at plus-180, in the Tigers’ 35-31 comeback win over Alabama. William Hill, which operates 108 of the state’s 196 sports books, lost more than $1 million in its worst single-game loss ever. The Westgate, Wynn and MGM Resorts each reported six-figure losses on the game.

The public also won big in the NFL playoffs, going 9-1 against the spread and 7-3 over the total.

“I haven’t seen a run like this in my 20 years in the business,” Red Rock sports book director Jason McCormick said before both favorites covered in the conference title games and both totals went over. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Bettors enjoyed one of their best NFL seasons in years, consistently cashing parlays by pairing the Patriots, who went 16-3 ATS, with opponents of the Browns (4-12 ATS), 49ers (4-11-1 ATS) and Rams (4-10-2 ATS).

“I’ve never seen it run this bad against the house for this many weeks in my entire career. This is uncharted territory, for sure,” MGM Resorts sports book director Jay Rood said after all four wild-card favorites covered. “Sometimes players win for three weeks in a row, but this is six weeks now. The whole month of December was a rough month for the NFL.”

Despite the hot streak by NFL bettors, Nevada sports books enjoyed a stellar college football season that helped them win a total of $91.2 million on football in 2016.

Sports books also won $7.95 million overall in January, raking in $18.2 million on basketball to offset their football losses.

According to a study by UNLV’s center for gaming research, Nevada sports books have won $1.4 billion on football bets since 1989 and $3.7 billion overall since 1984.


Sunset Station will host a “Tip Off to the Tourney” college basketball seminar from 6 to 7:30 p.m. March 14 at Club Madrid.

The event is free and open to the public. Sunset Station sports book director Chuck Esposito and “Sports Book” radio (KSHP-AM 1400) host Brian Blessing will break down the NCAA Tournament with handicappers Hank Goldberg, Bruce Marshall (Goldsheet.com) and Andy Iskoe (Thelogicalapproach.com).


Station Casinos is offering a $50,000 Last Man Standing daily elimination contest during the NCAA Tournament. Entries cost $25 each and the purchase of four entries earns a fifth for free.

Players, who can enter through 9 a.m. March 16, the first full day of the tournament, make a pick against the spread on the daily contest card and stay alive until they lose a round.

The minimum prize guarantee is $50,000 but the winner takes home the entire prize pool, which is expected to be more based on total entries.

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0354. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

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