New Jersey Sportsbooks lost $4.5 million on Super Bowl bets

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The first Super Bowl with legalized sports betting in New Jersey was likely one Garden State bookmakers will want to forget.

New Jersey sportsbooks lost a net $4.5 million on the New England Patriots’ 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII, according to numbers released Monday by the Division of Gaming Enforcement.

Just under $35 million was bet on the Super Bowl at New Jersey sportsbooks, which opened for business for the first time last summer at casinos and racetracks. In their first six months operating, New Jersey books accepted more than a $1 billion in bets and won a net $72 million, but Sunday didn’t go their way.

DraftKings said it took 300,000 bets on the Super Bowl and ended up suffering a loss of “just over seven figures” on the game. FanDuel, SugarHouse and William Hill’s New Jersey sportsbooks also reported losses on the Super Bowl, while online book BetStars told ESPN that it won on the game.

“If our customers are winning, we’re winning,” a DraftKings spokesman said regarding the loss.

Nevada sportsbooks fared much better, although the amount wagered on the Super Bowl dipped in Las Vegas. Nevada books won $10.7 million on the $145.9 million wagered on the Super Bowl, the state gaming control announced Monday. The $145.9 million bet on the Super Bowl is the second-most ever in Nevada but down nearly 8 percent from last year’s record of $158.45 million wagered on the game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Patriots.

Since that Super Bowl, full-scale sportsbooks have opened in Delaware, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and West Virginia. Nevada remains by far the largest sports betting market in the U.S., though.

“Nevada’s handle numbers were very strong in December and January,” said Art Manteris, a 40-year Las Vegas veteran bookmaker now a vice president at Station Casinos. “Personally, I’m not alarmed at all. Our properties were jammed, our hotel capacity was great and the crowds at all 16 sportsbooks were at capacity.”

Jay Kornegay, director for SuperBook USA and a 25-plus-year Las Vegas bookmaker, agreed with Manteris and didn’t think the drop in handle was caused by the new states offering sports betting. Kornegay pointed to Patriots fatigue and noted that a large customer who bet $8 million to $10 million on last year’s Super Bowl didn’t put as much in play this year.

Those were the “main reasons” for the dip, Kornegay wrote in a text message to ESPN.

The $10.7 million win for Nevada came more from futures bets on the odds to win the Super Bowl and proposition wagers than the outcome of the game. The majority of sportsbooks — in Nevada and New Jersey — ended up rooting for the Rams to cover the 2.5-point spread. The action, however, was more lopsided on the Patriots in New Jersey than Nevada, where two of three reported seven-figure wagers were on the underdog Rams.

Since Nevada Gaming Control began tracking the betting action on the Super Bowl in 1991, the state’s sportsbooks have suffered only two net losses (Giants-Patriots in 2009 and Chargers-49ers in 1995).

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