Las Vegas sports books made just $3.3 million off 2015’s Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks, according Nevada Gaming Commission data. For Vegas, where “the house always wins,” that is considered a loss.
“This was our one losing scenario,” Nick Bogdanovich, William Hill sports books’ director of trading told the Las Vegas Sun. “We had a big start with the futures, so it’s going to be close but the game couldn’t have been worse.”
Las Vegas wagers totaled $115.9 million, and the books took home just 2.8 percent of that total. In 2014, the books won a record $19.7 million on $119.4 million in wagers. The year-to-year Super Bowl profits dropped 83 percent. 2015’s win was the smallest Super Bowl payday for Las Vegas since 2011. That year the books took home just $724,176, or 0.8 percent of bets, on the Green Bay Packers' win over the New Orleans Saints.
Patriot Malcolm Butler’s game-changing interception unpleasantly shocked Seattle, as well as Las Vegas. The Patriots were slight favorites, which meant the sports books would make significantly more money on a Seattle win. The worst possible combination for casinos was a New England win and the score covering the over for points at 47.5, according to the Sun. Butler’s interception assured the worst possible scenario.
The big interception and 28-24 final score likely caused a lot of sports gamblers to celebrate. It caused a look of sports books to freeze in shock.
“We just sat there with our jaws dropped,” Bogdanovich told the Sun. “It’s just dumb that they wouldn’t run Marshawn Lynch.”
Vegas could have made back some of the money lost on the Patriots win through prop bets, but the game’s result guaranteed a low payday. New England has a history of hurting the casinos’ wallets. The Patriots loss to the New York Giants in 2008 was the largest sports books Super Bowl loss of the last 24 years. Vegas posted a -2.8 percent return or a $2.6 million loss from the Giants’ 17-14 upset win over New England.
Of the Patriots' six Bill Belichick-era championship appearances, just two appearances were large wins for Vegas. The Patriots back-to-back Super Bowl wins in 2004 and 2005 were back-to-back wins for the sports books, as well. Vegas won 15.3 percent of wagers, or $12.4 million, in 2004, and a record 17 percent, or $15.4 million, in 2005.
Belichick and Super Bowl MVP quarterback Tom Brady have now won four Super Bowls in six appearances.