Almost $116 million bet on Super Bowl XLIX, books win $3.26 million


If you ask Nevada sportsbooks which is the most popular sport to bet, they’ll tell you the NFL. If you ask them what the fastest growing sport is to bet, you’ll get the same answer.

That popularity and growth is evidenced in the near $116 million handle for Super Bowl XLIX between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks. The Nevada State Gaming Control Board released the Silver State’s Super Bowl numbers less than 24 hours after Sunday’s championship game.

While the handle for Sunday’s “Big Game”, which was won 28-24 by the Patriots as 1-point favorites, didn’t break last year’s record handle of $119 million on Super Bowl XLVIII, it was a major jump from the former Super Bowl high of $98.9 million taken in wagers for Super Bowl XLVII in 2013.

“The handle continued the overall trend we have been seeing in sports betting over the past several years,” Michael Lawton, senior research analyst for the Nevada State Gaming Control Board, tells Covers.  “The only reason we heard there could have been a decline in volume was due to the lack of a money line wager.”

Editor’s note: Covers looked at the impact the short Super Bowl odds would have on obtaining a record handle days before the game.

Even though the handle to Super Bowl XLIX was the second highest in state history it didn’t insure a big take for Nevada sportsbooks, who won just $3,261,066 on a hold (win percentage) of 2.8 percent. It was the second-lowest Super Bowl win for bookmakers since earning just $724,176 on Super Bowl XLVI in 2011, which had a slim 0.8 percent hold on $87,491,098 wagered.

The Patriots took the majority of the money in the two-week build-up to the game and the public bettors flocked to the Over like they do in every Super Bowl. With New England’s game-winning interception on its own 1-yard line in the final minute and the final score topping all incarnations of the total, Silver State sportsbooks suffered what they called a “worst-case scenario” Sunday night.

“I don’t know the exact dollar amount of the swing on that play but it was several millions,” says Lawton. “The Pats and the Over were the worst-case scenario from what we were told. The profit the books recorded was primarily due to the prop bets.”

Here’s a look at Super Bowl betting results over the past 10 years, according to the Nevada State Gaming Control Board:


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