NOTE: This includes updated handle/win numbers released by the Nevada Gaming Control Board on Wednesday, Feb. 15.
There is typically more money wagered annually on the Super Bowl than any other individual game at Nevada sportsbooks. While that will likely be the case again this year, revenue numbers are down from recent years.
This year, Nevada bettors wagered $153.2 million on the Super Bowl between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles, according to the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NCGB). Sportsbook operators won nearly $5.5 million from the total amount wagered on the Super Bowl. This works out to a hold percentage of 3.6%.
Sportsbooks reported varying degrees of success from Super Bowl betting. Two operators that should see a hit in Super Bowl revenue are Caesars and William Hill. The apps for both sportsbooks stopped working at the end of the first half of the game.
Caesars owns William Hill, and both Nevada sports betting apps use the same technology.
Super Bowl Revenue Down
The $153.2 million wagered on the Chiefs vs. Eagles Super Bowl this year was down from 2022, but up from 2021, when bettors wagered $136.1 million. Coincidentally, the Chiefs played in this game, too. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Chiefs 31-9.
The amount of money wagered on the Super Bowl this year was the fourth most ever. However, it’s a big dip of 15% from the $179.8 million wagered on last year’s game between the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals.
Nevada sportsbooks have won money on the Super Bowl in 31 of the 33 years since the NGCB started keeping records of the specific game in 1991.
The closest Nevada sportsbooks have come to a Super Bowl loss in the past decade was in 2018. They won just over $1.1 million and held only 0.7% of all money wagered.
Individual sportsbook revenue results were different depending on the operator. MGM Resorts director of trading Lamarr Mitchell told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the Super Bowl “was a substantial win for the house.”
Red Rock Resorts (Green Valley Ranch, Red Rock Casino, etc.) sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said, “the Eagles and over would’ve been the worst-case scenario, so getting the Chiefs to win was good from our side of the counter.”
Meanwhile, the executive vice president of the Westgate Superbook, Jay Kornegay told the Wall Street Journal that the Super Bowl “produced a winning day, but it wasn’t one for the books.”
Caesars And William Hill Apps Stop Working Abruptly
Sportsbook technology for Caesars and William Hill stopped working on Sunday. The problem began as the first half of the game came to an end. This affected bettors inside and outside of casinos throughout the state.
Mobile bettors couldn’t make In-Play wagers during the Super Bowl using either app. Customers using either app couldn’t cash out Super Bowl winnings or place wagers on other games.
While Caesars owns William Hill, the two companies have separate apps and different retail operations that use the same technology. The companies were fairly quiet as customers were trying to access their accounts.
On Monday, the NGCB released a statement saying the organization “is aware of the issue and board agents from the enforcement and technology division are currently investigating the matter.”
PlayNevada reached out to Michael Lawton, Senior Economic Analyst for the NGCB, for comment on the impact of the outage and he said that revenues “were impacted by the William Hill Nevada sports betting platform experiencing technical issues. He continued saying “ we are not able to quantify the amount of the impact.”
On Tuesday morning, William Hill released the following statement offering the public some insight into the problems.
— William Hill US (@WilliamHillUS) February 14, 2023
Customers can now place wagers and cash tickets from wagers placed at retail prior to the Super Bowl. Mobile app customers are still waiting on the app to resume operations.
In-Person Sportsbook App Registration Still An Issue
Bettors who wanted to make In-Play wagers with Caesars or William Hill during the second half of the Super Bowl were shut out unless they had multiple sportsbook accounts set up prior to the game.
Opening a sportsbook app account in Nevada is different than in most states with legal sports betting.
Nevada regulators require new sports betting app accounts to be set up in-person at a sportsbook inside of a casino. Most states don’t operate this way.
Sports bettors with legal sports betting elsewhere have it easier. They can simply download an app from a different sportsbook operator and open an account in just a few minutes.
The odds are slim that anyone would leave the Super Bowl to visit a casino to set up a new mobile sports betting app account. The process of driving to a sportsbook and standing in line to open a new sportsbook app account would mean potential bettors would miss the excitement of the Super Bowl that was decided in the last minute of action.
Caesars and William Hill operate in numerous states so the Nevada handle shouldn’t hurt too much. However, the process of in-person account registration hurt every sportsbook operator in Nevada that could have gained a new customer if mobile account registration was possible.
This Caesars and William Hill app outage is another reason to set up and fund multiple sportsbook apps. Using different apps is one way to shop and compare odds to find the best possible returns. It’s also a way not to lose any wagering opportunities should a sportsbook app go down.