LAS VEGAS (AP) — Gamblers wagered a record $119.4 million at Nevada casinos on the Super Bowl, allowing sportsbooks to reap an unprecedented profit as the betting public lost out in Seattle's rout of the Peyton Manning-led Denver Broncos.
Unaudited tallies showed sportsbooks made an unprecedented profit of $19.7 million on the action, the Gaming Control Board announced Monday. That's millions more than the past three Super Bowl wins combined.
The Denver Broncos were a 2.5-point favorite, but the Seattle Seahawks took the championship 43-8.
Oddsmakers said Peyton Manning fans drove the unprecedented handle, flooding Las Vegas and northern Nevada with wagers on the favored team and its veteran quarterback, who was named the NFL's Most Valuable Player for the 2013 season the day before the game. Many believed Manning was primed for a big game after his record-setting year.
The previous record for the amount of bets placed, or the handle, was set last year, when gamblers wagered $98.9 million on the Super Bowl between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers.
The last record for casino win was set in 2005, when sportsbooks won $15.4 million.
Some oddsmakers said they lost out on proposition bets, including whether a safety would be the first score of the game. Casinos paid out at 8-to-1 for the safety. Fans who bet that the first score would be on a safety cashed in at 60-to-1. It was the third year in a row that sportsbooks have been hit on the safety bet.
"The safety is no longer in my vocabulary," said Johnny Avello, who runs the luxurious sportsbook at Wynn.
The 51 points scored in New Jersey exceeded the over/under of 47.5. Most of the bets came in on the under side, meaning that fans thought the total points scored would remain below 47.5, and it was the Bronco's late two-point conversion that put casinos on the winning side of the wager.