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Nev. sports books eke out $724K win on Super Bowl

Sports books in Nevada hung on to win just over $724,000 from Super Bowl bets despite heavy gambling on the Green Bay Packers and lots of scoring, Nevada gambling regulators said Tuesday.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board said $87.5 million were wagered on the NFL's championship game in 183 sports books across the state.

Of those bets, casinos kept less than 1 percent.

"I can't say I've got a cheese head in my office right now," said Jay Kornegay, executive director of the race and sports book at the Las Vegas Hilton.

Green Bay beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Sunday night. The Packers were a 2½-point favorite in most Las Vegas casinos, giving their supporters a win with the six-point victory. The combined 56 points scored helped bettors who gambled that the total would go over about 45 points.

Mike Lawton, a research analyst with the control board, said that while some casinos won, others had moderate losses.

"There wasn't anyone that lost anything mind-blowing," he said. "I think we were really worried about it being a loss — it could have been worse."

Gamblers wagered 5.5 percent more this year than last year, when Nevada casinos won $6.9 million on $82.7 million in Super Bowl bets as New Orleans beat Indianapolis, 31-17.

The Hilton took a slight loss on Sunday as those who gamble regularly on sports stayed on the sidelines, Kornegay said.

"The big sharp money just never materialized because they never got value," he said.

Mike Colbert, race and sports director for Cantor Gaming, said his books won money because they were able to offset Green Bay bets with attractive wagers on Pittsburgh.

"In this business, volume overcomes everything," said Colbert, who operates books for Cantor at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Tropicana Las Vegas, Hard Rock and M Resort casinos. Cantor also licenses its technology for during-game bets to the Venetian and Palazzo casinos.

"If you can do eight figures in handle, you're really going to be in a spot where you should not lose money," he said. In casino terms, handle refers to amounts wagered.

Colbert said his books gave Steelers backers better odds than other casinos in Las Vegas, attracting money to offset strong support for Green Bay elsewhere.

"If you stayed there with a dead number ... you surely were going to get beat," Colbert said. "There was definitely money out there that was looking to bet Pittsburgh."

Casinos have lost once only once on the Super Bowl in the last 10 years, in 2008 when bettors gambled $92 million and casinos lost $2.57 million as the New York Giants beat New England, 17-14.

This year was the slimmest winning Super Bowl for casinos since 1998, when books won $472,000 on $77.2 million in wagers. The Denver Broncos beat Green Bay in that game, 31-24.