LAS VEGAS – Even the Super Bowl couldn’t stand up to the rough economy.
Wagering on the Arizona Cardinals-Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl was down 11.5 percent in Nevada compared to last year’s game between the New England Patriots and New York Giants, according to published figures released by the Nevada Gaming Control Board.
Super Bowl XLIII drew $81.5 million in legalized bets throughout Nevada’s 176 sportsbooks. This is the lowest figure since $81.2 was bet in the 2004 game featuring Carolina and New England.
There had been at least $90.7 million wagered during the previous four Super Bowls, topped by a record $94.5 in 2006 when Pittsburgh beat Seattle, 21-10.
Nevada bookmakers won $6.7 million, a win percentage of 6.7 percent. The books lost $2.6 million on last year’s Super Bowl. That marked only the second time in the past 15 years the house had lost.
“The books needed Pittsburgh to win,” said Mike Seba, a senior linesmaker for Las Vegas Sports Consultants, the company that makes the line for many of Nevada’s hotels. “If Arizona would have won, the books would have lost.”
The Cardinals were leading until Ben Roethlisberger’s 6-yard touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes with 35 seconds left gave Pittsburgh a 27-23 victory.
The Steelers winning but not covering was huge for the books. By far more money-line wagers were on the underdog Cardinals.
The house also did well on propositions, although bettors did well when Arizona recorded a safety following a Pittsburgh holding call in the end zone.
Bookmakers dodged a bullet when overtime was avoided. Although there has yet to be an overtime game in the 43-year history of the Super Bowl, bettors love to take 8-1 odds on overtime occurring.