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Super Bowl Nets Vegas Sports Books Smallest Profit in 13 Years

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Feb. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Las Vegas sports books had their smallest profit from Super Bowl bets in 13 years as the favored Green Bay Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Nevada’s 183 sports books won $724,176 from the $87.5 million in Super Bowl wagers, according to figures released by the state’s Gaming Control Board.

The Packers beat the Steelers 31-25 in the National Football League’s championship game on Feb. 6, topping both the 2 1/2-point spread at most Las Vegas casinos and 45-point projected point total, or over/under.

Nevada’s sports books were still able to make a slight profit in part because of the commission they charge on standard wagers and Super Bowl proposition bets, said RJ Bell, president of Las Vegas-based handicapping information website Pregame.com. Bell said prop bets -- such as whether Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers would pass for more than 300 yards or the Steelers’ defense would score a safety -- now account for about 50 percent of all Super Bowl wagers.

“Packers and ‘Over’ was by far the worst possible result for the sports books, and even so they ended up net winners,” Bell said in an e-mail. “This is a great example of the steep uphill climb the average player faces trying to win.”

The profit for Nevada’s sports books was the lowest since 1998, when they made $472,033 off Denver’s 31-24 win over Green Bay. The only time Las Vegas failed to make a profit on Super Bowl wagers in that span was three years ago, when sports books lost a combined $2.6 million after the New York Giants beat the heavily favored New England Patriots, who entered the game unbeaten.

Nevada’s sports books have won a net $115 million on the Super Bowl since 1991.

To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Matuszewski in New York at matuszewski@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net