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Sportsbooks avoid massive loss thanks to Knights’ playoff exit

Nevada sportsbooks lost a record $6.6 million in hockey bets in June after the Golden Knights won their first Stanley Cup championship.

Books avoided another potential multimillion-dollar loss on the Knights when they were eliminated in the first round in seven games by the Dallas Stars.

“The Knights were a seven-figure loser for us had they won the Stanley Cup,” MGM Resorts director of trading Lamarr Mitchell said. “We had a big player win last year on them substantially, and he bet quite a bit back this year at 12-1 and 14-1. Very high five-figure bets.”

The Knights were the biggest liability at Station Sports and the Westgate SuperBook to win it all. The Westgate would’ve paid out well into six figures had the Knights won back-to-back NHL titles.

“It would’ve been worse this year,” SuperBook executive director John Murray said. “The Golden Knights were, by far, No. 1 in terms of tickets and No. 1 in terms of dollar liability. Not that that’s a big surprise.”

The SuperBook is now a small loser on the Stars to win the Stanley Cup but wins on every other team. Station wins on every team.

“When you look at the NHL futures of the 16 teams that made the postseason, the only team that we had any liability on was the Knights,” Red Rock Resort sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said.

The Knights, who entered the playoffs at 12-1 to win the Stanley Cup, were the second-biggest loser at Caesars Sportsbook on Cup futures behind the New York Rangers.

“Last year, they were a bigger liability given they were a much bigger price during the season,” Caesars vice president of trading Craig Mucklow said. “This year, books knew the VGK playbook with (Mark) Stone and (Alex) Pietrangelo likely returning (for the playoffs).”

The Knights were +110 series underdogs to the Stars. They were underdogs in five of the seven games, including Sunday’s 2-1 loss in Game 7 at Dallas.

“Dallas was a good winner for the customers on the series,” Mucklow said. “But their faith changed to VGK for Game 7.”

Station bettors lost on Game 7 and the series.

“We were clearly Stars fans from the business side in every game of the seven-game series and to win the series,” Esposito said.

Despite books slipping off the hook of another possible massive loss on the Knights, they would’ve rather seen them advance in the postseason.

“From the fan side, clearly we were Knights fans,” Esposito said. “Though we didn’t win on them last year, it’s still kind of a win-win as far as atmosphere and the crowd in the book and the additional amount of hockey wagers.

“You are missing out on a tremendous amount of handle.”

Murray said the SuperBook also is disappointed the Knights were knocked out.

“We’re all Knights fans,” he said. “It’s bad for business when the Knights aren’t in. These other playoff series aren’t going to move the needle much.

“We all would’ve preferred to see the Knights move on. There’s a lot more excitement in the room.”

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on X.

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