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Super Bowl betting handle drops at Nevada sportsbooks

Updated February 13, 2023 - 7:32 pm

Points were plentiful in the Super Bowl, but betting was down at Nevada sportsbooks for Sunday’s game.

A year after the books shattered the state record for Super Bowl betting handle with $179.8 million in wagers, they took $153.2 million in bets — a decline of 14.8 percent, or $26.6 million less than last year — according to figures released Monday by the Gaming Control Board.

The state’s 185 sportsbooks won $11.3 million on the game, a win percentage, or hold, of 7.4 percent.

The Kansas City Chiefs rallied for a 38-35 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, to win their second championship in four years.

It was the first Super Bowl played in a state with legal sports betting, and there was a sportsbook at the stadium.

“There can be a couple factors that affected this year’s handle,” Westgate SuperBook vice president Jay Kornegay said. “One of them is that bettors across the country could be getting a little bit more comfortable with their offerings in their home state, meaning they don’t have to come out to Vegas to bet on the game.

“The other factor is that some people might have just migrated down to Arizona for those festivities being so close.”

With the 2024 Super Bowl taking place at Allegiant Stadium, Kornegay expects Nevada books to again obliterate the state record.

“Since we’re going to be hosting it next year, it’s safe to say we’re probably going to be over $200 million,” he said. “It might reach $210 million or $215 million next year. So I’m not too concerned about it.”

Nevada set records for Super Bowl handle in three consecutive years from 2016 to 2018, when Philadelphia’s 41-33 upset win over the New England Patriots set the previous record of $158.6 million.

This year’s handle was the fourth-highest since the state started tracking action on the Super Bowl in 1991.

“Last year, we were coming out of COVID and it was the first full year with 100 percent occupancy, so that could’ve played into setting the record a little bit,” Red Rock Resort sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said. “Overall, it still ranks up there as a phenomenal handle and a good result for the industry.”

Esposito said the fact that the line was close to pick’em (the Eagles closed as 1½-point favorites) might have hindered the handle.

“Usually you have kind of a wider gap and people play the money line value as opposed to the points, where here they were almost identical,” he said. “There really wasn’t any value in the money line.”

BetMGM took a $1.25 million wager on the Eagles on the money line (-125) at Bellagio. Caesars Sportsbook took an $800,000 bet in Nevada on the Chiefs on the money line (+110), and a bettor at Caesars Palace wagered $550,000 on over 51.

Another factor that might have contributed to the handle being down was that the William Hill mobile app and Caesars Sportsbook app in Nevada, which uses the William Hill platform, went down before the Super Bowl kicked off and was still down Monday.

“You could assume that due to one of our operators experiencing technical issues with their mobile wagering application had an impact on the figures we reported today,” GCB senior economic analyst Michael Lawton said in an email.

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

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