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The Nevada Independent

Wagering on Super Bowl LVIII sets a record at $185.6M

Nevada sportsbooks won $6.8M on the game according to the Gaming Control Board.
Howard Stutz
Howard Stutz

The first Super Bowl played in Las Vegas produced a record wagering total and small revenue figure, despite predictions that sportsbooks nationwide would take a financial loss on the game.

Nearly 24 hours after the Kansas City Chiefs’ 25-22 overtime win over the San Francisco 49ers at Allegiant Stadium on Sunday night, the Gaming Control Board said Nevada sportsbooks took in $185.6 million in wagers on the game. 

The bets translated into revenue of $6.8 million, a hold percentage of 3.7 percent.

In a research note published Monday morning, Macquarie Securities gaming analyst Chad Beynon wrote that roughly 60 percent of sportsbook customers wagered on Kansas City to cover the spread or win the game outright, where the odds were higher on the money line.

Beynon estimated sportsbooks nationwide suffered a 4 percent loss on all wagers, which was “not as bad as our worst-case scenario.” Still, based on his predicted total of $1.5 billion in bets placed on the game nationally, the loss translated into an estimated $64 million.

The Super Bowl is considered the most wagered single-game event annually in Nevada sportsbooks with outsized bets coming from celebrities and high rollers. Las Vegas sportsbook operators reported several million-dollar wagers on the game heading into the weekend. 

But the game is also known for attracting new sports gamblers and football fans who say the game is the lone wager they make all year.

In addition to the game’s record-setting wagers, the National Football League said CBS Sports' coverage of Super Bowl LVIII was the most-watched telecast in history with a total audience of 123.4 million average viewers across all platforms, including the CBS Television Network, Paramount+, Nickelodeon, Univision and CBS Sports and NFL digital properties, including NFL+.

Before Nevada’s Super Bowl wagering results were announced, gaming analysts predicted the final score had favored the betting public and caused losses for some sportsbook operators.

The betting line shifted slightly when it was set Jan. 28. But heading into the kickoff, there was very little movement with the 49ers favored by anywhere from 1 point or 2 points by different sportsbooks. 

The Nevada wagering total smashed the previous record of $179.8 million bet on the Super Bowl in 2022 when the Los Angeles Rams beat the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles. The state’s sportsbooks won $11 million, or 6.2 percent of all bets that year. 

Last year, Nevada sportsbook held 3.6 percent of a $153.2 million bet on the Chiefs 38-35 win over the Philadelphia Eagles at State Farm Stadium in the Phoenix suburb of Glendale.

Nevada sportsbooks have experienced lower win percentages on the Super Bowl. 

In 2018, sportsbooks held just 0.7 percent — more than $1.1 million — of the $158.6 million in wagers placed on the Philadelphia Eagles’ 41-33 win over the New England Patriots.

Kansas City Chiefs fans stand in line at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas waiting for a table at the Marquee Day Club to watch Super Bowl LVIII on Feb. 11, 2024. (Jeff Scheid/The Nevada Independent)

Nevada’s largest hold percentage of 16.5 percent came 10 years ago when the Seattle Seahawks beat the Denver Broncos 43-8. Wagers topped $119.4 million and sportsbooks won $19.7 million. 

Nevada sportsbooks lost money on the Super Bowl only twice since the control board has kept records on the game. 

In 1995, sportsbooks lost almost $397,000 when the 49ers beat the San Diego Chargers 49-26. Almost $70 million was bet on the game. 

In 2008, sportsbooks lost $2.57 million on the $92.1 million wagered when the New York Giants beat the Patriots 17-14.

Analysts said the Chiefs’ win benefitted gamblers outside Nevada as well.

Beynon said sportsbook operators nationwide saw a jump in new customers, given the expansion of legal online sports betting to more than 50 percent of the U.S. population and the interest in singer Taylor Swift’s romance with Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce.  

The game had “interest from a whole new demographic, mostly women. We view Super Bowl LVIII as unequivocally positive for sportsbooks,” Beynon wrote.

Eilers & Krejcik Gaming sports betting analyst Chris Krafcik said the sports betting operators that specialize in same game parlays — multiple wagers on different aspects of a game that are tied together — reported a positive result because many of the Super Bowl’s star players finished below their expected totals. Also, just four touchdowns were scored in the game.

Krafcik, in a research note, quoted one sportsbook official as saying, “The star players going under helped stop the bleeding a bit but [it was] still a bad outcome.”

The betting operators said the overtime period hurt sportsbooks because it gave some players additional opportunities to go over their predicted yardage totals.

“The Chiefs winning pretty much any way was going to be a bad result for [the sportsbooks],” Krafcik said the operator told him.

The first Super Bowl that went into overtime took place seven years ago, when the New England Patriots defeated the Atlanta Falcons 34-28. Nevada’s sportsbooks took in $138.5 million and held 8 percent of all bets that year.

GeoComply, a Vancouver-based geolocation firm that tracks and confirms the accuracy of online sports betting, said Monday that wagers in the U.S. increased more than 22 percent over the weekend with sports averaging 15,000 per second in the minutes leading up to the game’s kickoff at 3:40 pm.

In a statement, GeoComply said it saw a total of 8.5 million active accounts across states where online sports betting is legal, representing a 15 percent increase over Super Bowl LVII a year ago. 

“The continued transition to the legal market set the stage for a historic first Super Bowl in Las Vegas, and the record-breaking results we saw did not disappoint,” GeoComply CEO Anna Sainsbury said in a statement.  


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