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Nevada casinos win $6.86M on Super Bowl bets

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Nevada casinos won almost $6.9 million on this year’s Super Bowl as bettors wagered $82.7 million on the NFL title game, gambling regulators said Tuesday.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board said the win was $179,000 more than sports books won last year, on $1.21 million more in bets.

The underdog New Orleans Saints beat the favored Indianapolis Colts 31-17 in the Sunday game.

Indianapolis started as a four-point favorite when the matchup was set, according to Las Vegas Sports Consultants, a firm that provides betting lines to about 90 percent of the state’s 182 sports books. The Colts were a 4 1/2-point favorite in the Glantz-Culver line, with the over-under at 55 1/2 points.

Jay Kornegay, executive director of the race and sports book at the Las Vegas Hilton, said results were hurt by bad weather in the northeastern United States, which prevented some gamblers from making planned trips to bet on the game in Sin City. But he said the bets taken on the game were indicative of today’s struggles for casinos in Las Vegas.

“We thought the Super Bowl was a great measuring stick of the economy and we think the economy is just a little better than what it was last year,” Kornegay said.

Kornegay said his sports book accepted 14 percent more wagers than it did last year, but average bets were lower.

Nevada’s biggest Super Bowl win in the last 10 years was in 2005, when the New England Patriots topped the Philadelphia Eagles and casinos won $15.4 million. Bettors wagered the most in 2006, when $94.5 million was bet on the Pittsburgh Steelers victory over the Seattle Seahawks.

Nevada casinos lost almost $2.6 million in 2008, when the New York Giants beat the favored Patriots.

Kornegay said the Hilton lost money on the game in part because it lost money on normally lucrative proposition wagers. Casinos usually profit by offering long odds on unusual circumstances players like to bet on — a successful 2-point conversion, for example.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees threw a 2-point conversion pass to Lance Moore in the fourth quarter that was initially called incomplete, but was overturned by referees following a Saints challenge.

Other unsuccessful proposition bets for the Hilton included an interception returned for a touchdown, which bettors won when the Saints’ Tracy Porter intercepted a pass from Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and returned it 74 yards for a touchdown to clinch the game.

“A lot of things happened in this game that normally don’t happen,” Kornegay said. “Those are all props that normally go the other way.”

© 2010 Associated Press. Displayed by permission. All rights reserved.

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