LAS VEGAS – Sports fans bet a record $119.4 million at Nevada casinos on the Super Bowl.
Unaudited tallies showed sportsbooks made an unprecedented profit of $19.7 million on the action, the Gaming Control Board said. That’s more than the past three Super Bowl wins combined.
The Denver Broncos started out as a 2.5-point favorite, but the Seattle Seahawks won 43-8.
Oddsmakers said Peyton Manning fans drove the unprecedented handle, flooding Las Vegas and northern Nevada with wagers on the favored team and its veteran quarterback, who was named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player for the 2013 season the day before the game. Many believed Manning was primed for a big game after his record-setting year.
The previous record for the amount of bets placed, or the handle, was set last year, when gamblers wagered $98.9 million on the Super Bowl between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers.
The last record for casino hold, or profit, was set in 2005, when sportsbooks won $15.4 million.
Some oddsmakers said they lost out on proposition bets, including whether a safety would be the first score of the game. Casinos paid out at 8-to-1 for the safety. Fans who bet that the first score would be on a safety cashed in at 60-to-1.
Still, casinos retained an average of 16.5 percent of the millions wagered, far more than the average hold during the past decade.
The 51 points scored in New Jersey exceeded the over/under of 47.5.
Nevada sportsbooks have lost only twice on the Super Bowl in the past 20 years, most recently in 2008, when the New York Giants beat the New England Patriots, costing casinos a record $2.6 million.
Meanwhile, sports betting has become increasingly popular, with the handle increasing during nine of the past 10 years in Nevada. Football is consistently the most popular sport to put money on, and the Super Bowl is the most important day of a sportsbook’s year.
Oddsmakers released numbers for next year’s Super Bowl before fans even had time to stumble back to their hotel rooms Sunday night.