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Sportsbooks expect record betting for Super Bowl in Las Vegas

Updated December 15, 2021 - 2:33 pm

When Jay Kornegay first saw the news on his phone that the NFL had awarded the 2024 Super Bowl to Las Vegas, the Westgate SuperBook vice president said it instantly brought a smile to his face.

“It’s very exciting news for not only the sportsbooks but for the entire city of Las Vegas,” he said. “Super Bowl weekend is already one of the biggest weekends of the year when the game’s not even played in Las Vegas. You can probably take that times four and ramp it up.

“I would expect records across the board, when you’re talking about the amount of incremental income that will come with the Super Bowl.”

Kornegay’s fellow Las Vegas bookmakers agreed.

“Both the race and sportsbook handle and the economic boom will be off the charts,” Red Rock Resort sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said. “The Super Bowl is already a destination vacation in Las Vegas. Having the biggest sporting event in the world in the entertainment capital of the world will magnify everything, including the wagering.

“If you think New Year’s is fun in Vegas, I can only imagine the Super Bowl.”

Nevada sportsbooks set records for Super Bowl betting handle, or the amount wagered on the game, in three straight years from 2016 to 2018, when the state set an all-time record with $158.6 million bet on Philadelphia’s 41-33 upset of New England in Super Bowl LII.

The handle of $136.1 million for Tampa Bay’s 31-9 win over Kansas City in February’s Super Bowl LV was the lowest in the state since 2016. But the drop was attributed to capacity restrictions at the state’s casinos caused by COVID-19.

MGM Resorts director of trading Jeff Stoneback expects Super Bowl LVIII at Allegiant Stadium to shatter the record handle, partly because of the well-heeled visitors it will bring to Las Vegas.

“With the clientele here, there will be quite a bit of money,” he said. “I imagine it would destroy the record.”

Kornegay concurs.

“The demographics of those attending the Super Bowl will greatly benefit the city of Las Vegas,” he said.

The city will warm up for the Super Bowl by hosting the NFL Pro Bowl in February and the NFL draft in April.

The league has completely reversed its stance against sports betting and Las Vegas.

In 2003, the NFL banned Las Vegas from advertising during the Super Bowl broadcast. In 2015, the league forced cancellation of a fantasy football convention that was set to be hosted by then-Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo at Venetian Resort Las Vegas, citing a rule that players can’t participate in events at casinos.

But in 2017, NFL team owners approved the Raiders’ relocation to Las Vegas. And in 2018, when the Supreme Court overturned a federal ban on sports betting, the NFL finally fully embraced it.

“Times have changed dramatically in the sports betting world and we’re 100 percent behind it,” Kornegay said. “It’s fantastic for all the fans out there and certainly for the industry and now for the citizens of Las Vegas.

“As a Las Vegas citizen, we’ll be very proud to host the Super Bowl. There are a lot of great host cities, but we’re obviously very unique and built to host the Super Bowl.”

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

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