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Kevin Smith

Super Bowl XXXVII - The Real Score

30 January 2003

Player acquisition was the name of the game for as well. Manager Alistair Assheton said they made money Sunday, but emphasized that the day was about harvesting new clients more than anything else.

"We had slightly less action on the game itself this year than we had last year," he said. "That was primarily because we killed the players in January. A lot of our clients took a beating in the playoffs, so we had a huge January this year."

Heading into the weekend, there were two ideal outcomes for and one of them came to fruition.

"Either the Raiders to win by three points in a high scoring game or Tampa Bay to win by 20 points or more in a high scoring game," Noble Said. "So, we were quite happy with Tampa Bay winning."

While offshore books opened the lines with Oakland at minus 3 1/2, Vegas bookmakers had Oakland at minus 4 nearly the entire week until dropping to 3 1/2 on Sunday.

For the most part, bookmakers did well on the props, futures and parlays, with Tampa and the over coming in instead of Tampa and under.

As for the sports books that depended on the game to make or break them, said Assheton, "Those are the ones that probably won't be around two to five years from now."

Vegas and the Numbers

Analysts estimate that nearly $6 billion was wagered on the Super Bowl, both legally and illegally.

According to un-audited figures provided Tuesday by the Nevada Gaming Control Board, the handle on Sunday's game for state's operators was a combined $71,693,032.

That's slightly more than the amount wagered in the state during last year's game, but with Tampa Bay pulling off the large margin of victory, sports books' profits increased significantly.

Licensed bookmakers in Nevada won over $5.2 million for a hold percentage of 7.3 percent. Last year, bettors wagered $71,513,304 on Super Bowl XXXVI between the New England Patriots and St. Louis Rams, but the books' hold percentage was only 3.3 percent.

Sports book operators were optimistic that the Raiders' devoted following and the fact that the game was in nearby San Diego would help them challenge the record handle of 1998, when $77.2 million was wagered on the Denver-Green Bay game in San Diego.

The 1999 game between Denver and Atlanta attracted $75.9 million, but the total has not reached $72 million since.

Many believe the reason for this is the rising popularity of Internet sports books.

"The only rational answer ... is that more and more of the money is going offshore," longtime Vegas bookmaker Jimmy Vaccaro said. "People aren't turned off by the game, and I would bet that more people than ever are betting it, but there is a lot more competition now than there was years ago."

Vaccaro told the Associated Press that the allure of coming to Vegas to make a wager on the Super Bowl isn't what it was 10 or 15 years ago.

"Even though it's so much fun here and there are so many things to do, it's easier for a guy to bet from his couch and have 10 friends over to watch the game than to go through the hassles of flying here and bringing your money to the window," he said. "Walking to the computer, making your bet and then watching the game from your couch is very attractive for a lot of people, and I think that's having an impact here."

Super Bowl XXXVII - The Real Score is republished from
Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith