INGLEWOOD, Calif. – A missed extra point turned a good night into a great night for sports betting companies.
This was the second Super Bowl where Virginians could legally place bets, and early estimates are that it was a record-breaking event.
The state has currently licensed 13 companies to take bets, with a portion of winnings returning to the state in the form of tax revenue.
Depending on the book, the Rams were either 4 or 4½ point favorites to defeat the Cincinnati Bengals. They ended up winning by 3 points, 23-20.
That helped the books hit the “sweet spot” where the favorite wins, but does not cover the point spread.
FanDuel reported before the game that action was almost evenly split between the two teams on its site, the current market share leader in Virginia.
But many people who bet on the underdog bet on them to win outright, the “moneyline” bet, so those Bengals bettors were also losers.
The game also brought more action on the “over” total than the “under,” with bettors wagering that the game would have more than 48½ total points scored. It didn’t.
“Usually in the Super Bowl if the favorite wins but does not cover and the total goes under, it’s usually good for the house. And, once again, that was the best case scenario for the house,” Jeff Stoneback of BetMGM told Yahoo News late Sunday night.
Las Vegas-based Station Casinos told the Las Vegas Review-Journal it was the company’s biggest Super Bowl win ever.
Final numbers from the month won’t be made public until late March, but the most recent figures, which account for sports betting through December, show that Virginians have wagered $3.2 billion since the market’s launch last year.
However, that hasn’t equated to a tax windfall yet.
The law allows operators to deduct certain promotional expenses, and they’ve claimed $122 million of those so far, no surprise to anybody who’s seen the omnipresent television ads.
Last year Virginia took in $20.3 million in taxes from the companies after the books were settled, with projections higher for this year.
The General Assembly is tackling a handful of bills related to sports gaming.
One would revoke the promotional writeoff, another would ban companies from using the term “Virginia” in advertising, and a third would allow wagers on state college games, which are currently prohibited.
At the moment, all three are considered unlikely to pass.