LAS VEGAS — Las Vegas oddsmakers thought they might be headed for a big payday, but the New England Patriots — thanks to a successful two-point conversion that led to the first-ever Super Bowl overtime — left them with mixed results instead.
Gamblers wagered a record $138.5 million at Nevada casinos on the big game, almost $6 million more than last year. The unaudited tallies released Monday by the Nevada Gaming Control Board showed sports books made a profit of more than $10.9 million on the action, about $2.4 million less than in 2016 and a far cry from the $19.6 the casinos cleared in 2014.
Caesars Palace sportsbook director Frank Kunovic said the hotel-casino raked in a decent amount of money from bettors, but would have had a much better day if the Patriots missed the two-point conversion that tied the game. The play resulted in a seven-figure swing for Caesars’ bottom line when MVP quarterback Tom Brady’s favored Patriots went on to beat the Atlanta Falcons 34-28. Most bettors wagered for the Patriots to win by more than 3 points and the game’s total points to exceed 59.
“Our saving grace was that we had a lot of people on the under,” Kunovic said, referring to the people who bet that the total points scored by the two teams would remain under 59.
Winning bettors were lined up to cash their tickets until about 1 a.m., and the lines formed again later in the morning, he said.
It could have been worse for the state’s 196 sports books.
A record would have been set if the Patriots had kicked a field goal to win in overtime at 31-28, Pregame.com founder RJ Bell said in statement. That score would have ended with no winners or losers on the side (-3) and total (59).
“That would have resulted in the most bets in Vegas history being refunded,” Bell said.
Bettors also won big Sunday on several proposition bets — wagers offered on unique and various cases — including on whether the game would go into overtime. That bet paid 7-1.
“Every year, the general public bets to go into overtime,” said Jay Kornegay, who runs the sports book at the Westgate Las Vegas. “So, for the longest period of time, we’ve always won on that prop, but this is the first time that we actually had to pay out. I guess it was a long time coming.”
Kornegay said he had no complaints Monday, but he acknowledged that he saw “glimpses of having a banner day” that ended with just an average one.
At the Wynn Las Vegas, the game was pretty much a wash. Johnny Avello, the longtime oddsmaker and sports book director at the casino-resort on the Strip, said he took a lot of six-figure bets and about 60 percent were on the Patriots. What helped the Wynn’s take was that it also took a lot of money on the under.
“There were so many things that happened in the game,” Avello said. “Everything happened.”