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Kevin Smith

Super Bowl Both Good and Bad for Bookmakers

6 February 2002

It remains a fuzzy picture three days after Super Bowl XXXVI, but it appears that online sports books and their land-based counterparts saw plenty of betting action from the game.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board is expected to release its figures from the state's bookmakers, but early indications project the handle to exceed the record $77 million which was wagered on the game in 1998.

That may be the only good news though, as many land-based and Internet sports books are saying the majority of bets were laid on the New England Patriots with the money line.

The Patriots upset the St. Louis Rams 20-17 on a last second field goal. The Rams were 14 point favorites, and most money lines had the Rams at minus-600 and the Pats at plus-400.

But the sports books on the Las Vegas Strip weren't complaining. While they may take a hit on the money-line bets, operators say the handle from the game was at an all-time high and gives them hope after handle had dropped the previous two years.

Bert Osborne, the Coast Resort race and sports book director, told the Associated Press that the volume of business will offset any hit the book takes from losing bets.

"The game was a disaster, but I'm not complaining," he said. "We won. It was scary, the handle was so big. The crowds created gridlock. They were saying over at the Orleans they had never seen crowds like this before. When I see the final reports, (the handle) is going to be unreal. We got waxed on the parlay cards and on the money line, but the sheer volume that we did will save us."

Joe Lupo, the race and sports book director at the Stardust said Sunday was one of "the busiest Super Bowls in quite awhile."

Online sports books had similar success.

World Gaming plc, a leading software supplier for online casinos and sports books, announced the game was the biggest day ever for sports books on the World Gaming platform.

World Gaming-licensed sports books accepted over 122,000 wagers, totaling more than $7 million on the game, according to company officials. The amount wagered represents an increase of over 76 percent from last year.

Online gaming analyst Sebastain Sinclair estimated more than $339 million was wagered through online sports books on the Super Bowl. That figure was down from last year's $400 million, and he felt that a bigger effect from the game would be a lack of new users who would be frustrated when they discovered their credit cards wouldn't work.

But World Gaming claims that wasn't issue with its sports book operators. The company said that the weekend of the Super Bowl, from Friday to Sunday, saw more than 15,000 new customers. On a normal weekend the company said it would usually get only 6,500 new accounts. New deposits for Super Bowl Sunday reached a record high of $2.6 million, which was a 57 percent increase from last year.

World Gaming CEO, Mike Aymong said the increased business from the Super Bowl was a direct result of the company's new focus on business. "World Gaming has made its back-office, infrastructure and customer-facing operations a major priority over the past six months," he said. "The completion of upgrades to our gaming servers and improvements to our customer service infrastructure ensured that Super Bowl Sunday was successfully handled without difficulties, despite record volumes." also said it reached its targeted goal of 300,000 individual bets on this year's game. reached its goal of $15 million of handle from more than 50,000 accounts.

Rodney Davis, World Gaming's chief financial officer, said the Super Bowl can be the catalyst for Internet gaming sites to retain new customers for the rest of the calendar year.

"The American football season is the company's busiest sports book period," he said. "In addition to our focus on profitability through increased capture rates, we are working to extend the success of our sports book offering beyond the football season through the addition of new, popular sports and entertainment content."

Super Bowl Both Good and Bad for Bookmakers is republished from
Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith