Record-breaking weekend

The Super Bowl is now in the rear view mirror, with anyone who isn’t specifically a Los Angeles Rams or Cincinnati Bengals fan probably only remembering the halftime show for either being pretty cool or, in a bizarro universe, scandalous. Not that it wasn’t a good game – L.A.’s last-minute go-ahead touchdown and Aaron Donald’s subsequent defensive brilliance to clinch the title were great – but if you are, say, a Packers fan like me, the outcome of the game didn’t have much of an effect on you.

There were some people on whom the game did have an effect: bettors and sportsbooks. Nevada’s sportsbooks raked it in, accepting $179.8 million in bets on Super Bowl LVI (called “handle”), destroying the previous record of $158.6 million set in 2018. Last year’s Nevada handle was $136.1 million.

The hold, or what they earned after paying out winning bets, was $15.4 million, or 8.6%.

Red Rock Resort sportsbook director Chuck Esposito told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that he believes a number of things came together to bring about the record-setting numbers, mainly loosening of COVID-19 restrictions and continued growth of online wagering.

“Overall, I think the general acceptance of sports wagering is a big part of it,” he said. “The increased volume on both in-play (betting) and props; the continued growth of mobile; the restrictions on masks lifted; the 100 percent occupancy compared to 50 percent last year; and the willingness industry-wide to take higher limits.”

Nevada Gaming Control Board senior economic analyst Michael Lawton also believes that the 4.5-point spread (the Rams were favored) and the money line differed enough that sportsbooks were able to generate plenty of action on both sides.

Mattress Mack at it again

Perhaps even more impressive for Nevada sportsbooks was that Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale did not put down a wager in the Silver State. McIngvale is known for his gigantic sports bets, using them as a hedge against a promotion he likes to run at his furniture store. If his bets win (he’s made bets on Super Bowls, the World Series, and more), anyone who bought $3,000 or more of furniture from his store within a specific time frame gets their purchase for free. So he wins money on the bet, but loses on the promo. On the flip side, the promo brings in customers who spend a lot of money, so he makes up some of his wagering losses that way.

McIngvale placed $9.5 million in bets on the Bengals to win, both with the Caesars Sportsbook app in Louisiana. The second bet, for $5 million, was the largest mobile bet in history and easily the largest on this year’s Super Bowl. He would have won $16.2 million had the Bengals been able to pull off the upset.

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