How did Vegas Fare on Super Bowl XLVII?

Super Bowl XLVII concluded with a near record audience, a critically acclaimed halftime performance, and of course, the black out.  CBS took in on average, $3.8 million per 30 second commercial spot sold, while the victorious Ravens players each earned a winner’s share payment of $88,000.  It seems that financially, everyone was a winner.

That being said, with the Super Bowl being the largest one-day sporting event in terms of legal bets placed, how did the sports books fare?  It is estimated that nearly $10 billion is wagered worldwide on the Super Bowl, with only about 1% of that sum being placed legally in Las Vegas.  This year, it was projected that the Vegas sports books would take in between $90 and $95 million in bets.  Previously, the record bet on any one Super Bowl in Vegas, was in 2006, with approximately $94.5 million being laid in the city’s approximately 184 sports books.

One factor that may have dragged down profits for the sport books on this year’s Super Bowl were the results of what are commonly termed Proposition Bets.  Prop bets allow a fan to wager on virtually every aspect of the game, ranging from which team will win the coin toss to a given Quarterback’s final passing yards.  For example, Ravens’ quarterback, Joe Flacco, went over his 3 passing prop bets, exceeding the given totals for passing yards, completions, and touchdowns.  But these prop bets were not the most damaging to the sports books in this year’s Super Bowl.  One of the most popular of these wagers each year is on whether or not a safety will be scored in the game.  In all of the previous Super Bowls, there have been only six safeties scored. Thus, the payout on a safety being scored this year averaged a nine to one payout.  Additionally, a special teams touchdown wager averaged at least a two to one payout.  Given that both of these possibilities occurred this year, the sports books were obviously not pleased.

When the tallies are complete, we shall see if the Vegas take approached that of the record in the 2006 game.  Whatever the result, the Super Bowl’s economic effect in Las Vegas cannot be underestimated.