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Inside Gaming: Record Amounts Wagered on Super Bowl; ESPN, DraftKings End Deal Early

Odds boards in a Las Vegas sportsbook


  • Super Bowl 50 saw record amounts wagered, with the sportsbooks doing very well thanks to the outcome.

  • After only a few months, ESPN and DraftKings have ended their exclusive advertising deal early.

This week’s installment of Inside Gaming looks back at Super Bowl 50 to see how the Las Vegas sportsbooks fared, reports on the ending of an exclusive advertising deal between ESPN and DraftKings, tells of some fines levied upon Pennsylvania casinos, and shares news of a new licensing deal being sought by the online and mobile casino games provider Yggdrasil.

Super Bowl 50 a Big Winner for Vegas Sportsbooks

Last Sunday’s Super Bowl 50 was a great triumph for the winning Denver Broncos and a huge disappointment for the losing Carolina Panthers. Meanwhile it was happy day for the Las Vegas casinos as well, as not only did bettors wager more money on the game than on any previous Super Bowl, but the outcome added up to an especially profitable day for the sportsbooks.

According to estimates made by the Nevada Gaming Commission, a record $132.5 million was bet on the Super Bowl, well exceeding the previous record of $119.4 million bet on Super Bowl XLVIII. The sportsbooks managed a total win of about $13.3 million, not as good as the $19.7 million taken two years ago, but well above the $3.2 million taken in a year ago.

David Purdum of ESPN reported William Hill Race & Sports Book had taken a $623,142.25 money line bet on the Carolina, while the Flamingo sportsbook had also taken a $300,000 money line bet on the favorite Panthers to win. A rush of money on underdog Denver as kickoff neared balanced things out a bit in terms of the betting, although Carolina still closed as a consensus five-point favorite. A Carolina win would have been most profitable for Vegas, although the sportsbooks still did well with the result and the 24-10 final score keeping under the total, as most had bet the over.

The prop bets we discussed last week were especially popular as well, especially betting on who would be the game’s most valuable player, an honor earned by Denver defensive player Von Miller. “We were blown away by the wagering on the MVP,” Michael Grodsky, director of marketing at the William Hill, told the Associated Press. “It was a very healthy handle on that, and Von Miller winning the MVP was a big winner for the public. Ten percent of all the tickets we wrote were on Von Miller.”

On the whole, the prop bets worked out very positively for the sportsbooks thanks in part to the game being low scoring, since many of those wagers had to do with particular players getting in the endzone and other scoring-related events. “A defensive battle was something we were rooting for,” explained Jay Kornegay of the Westgate Race and Sports SuperBook.

Read more about other props and how things fell the sportsbooks’ way from the AP.

ESPN Cuts Short Exclusive Advertising Relationship with DraftKings

Now that the National Football League season is over, don’t expect to see nearly as many ads or references to the daily fantasy sports DraftKings on ESPN going forward. That’s because this week the world’s largest sports network announced it was ending its deal early with DraftKings to be its “official daily fantasy sports offering” across its many platforms.

The agreement was first announced last June, although it wasn’t until January of this year that DraftKings had become an “exclusive” advertising partner with ESPN. As Yahoo! Finance explains, the deal reportedly saw DraftKings “commit upwards of $200 million per year in ad spend on the network.” Yahoo! speculates that various legal battles currently being fought by DraftKings in many U.S. states “makes it likely that DraftKings was the one looking to get out of the committment, and that ESPN obliged.”

It was never publicly stated how long the deal between DraftKings and ESPN had originally been intended to last, although most believed it had been a multi-year commitment. Observers have noted the early ending of the deal likely benefits ESPN as well, now freeing the network up to accept DFS advertising from other entities.

Learn more about the parting of DraftKings and ESPN at Yahoo! Finance.

Pennsylvania Casinos Fined by Gaming Control Board

This week the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board approved fines against three different casino operators in the state due to various violations.

The operator of the Mount Airy Casino Resort was slapped with a $15,000 fine for using non-approved gaming chips. Meanwhile Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment, Inc. who operates the Parx Casino was hit with a $10,000 fine for allowing cash advances to self-excluded persons.

Additionally, the Mountainview Thoroughbred Racing Association who operates the Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course was made to pay $7,500 for having left unaccounted decks of cards on the gaming floor. There was no evidence of any tampering of the decks.

PRNewsWire provides more details about the incidents and resulting fines.

Malta-Based Yggdrasil Applies for Gibraltar License

Finally this week Yggdrasil Gaming, the online and mobile casino games provider based in Malta, submitted its formal application to the Gibraltar Licensing Authority for a B2B remote gaming license.

As iGamingBusiness reports, Yggdrasil obtained a license from the UK Gambling Commission in December to begin serving players in Great Britain. The company is “now keen to extend the reach of its services” by applying for the Gibraltar license, with the process expected to complete soon.

“We were over the moon to be invited to apply for a Gibraltar license,” said Yggdrasil chief executive Fredrik Elmqvist. “It’s an exclusive jurisdiction, with a number of major operators based there, and we believe it will be a fantastic new hunting ground for us.”

Elmqvist added he believed Yggdrasil will be in a position to “hit the ground running” once the license process is finalized, “as we have carved out a niche for ourselves that is different from other suppliers.”

Learn more about Yggrasil’s plans at iGamingBusiness.

Photo: Odds boards in a Las Vegas sportsbook, Baishampayan Ghose. Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.

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Inside Gaming: Record Amounts Wagered on Super Bowl; ESPN, DraftKings End Deal Early 101

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