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Inside Gaming: Record Super Bowl Betting; Crown To Build Melbourne Tower

MGM Race & Sports Book

This week's installment of Inside Gaming shares three industry-related stories from the week. Not only did the game break numerous records, but the Super Bowl also broke a record in terms of the amount bet on it in Nevada sportsbooks. Meanwhile Crown Resorts Limited received approval to build the tallest skyscraper in Australia, and Georgia lawmakers are considering legislation that would bring casinos to the Peach State.

Record Amount Bet in Nevada Sportsbooks on Super Bowl 51

Earlier this week many of us were still trying to wrap our heads around that incredible Super Bowl 51 and the unprecedented comeback by the New England Patriots to defeat the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in overtime.

For sports bettors, the fact that New England not only won the game but covered the spread was meaningful, too. Also of interest was how the final, winning touchdown meant the game hit the "over" in total points.

Nevada sportsbooks were certainly pleased with the result. According to the Nevada Gaming Control Board, nearly $138.5 million was wagered on this year's Super Bowl, including bets on the game (against the spread and money line), the over/under, and all of the many Super Bowl prop bets. That figure bested last year's record-setting total of $132.5 million bet on Super Bowl 50

Meanwhile that final score translated into big win for the books as well. With a collective win percentage of 7.9 percent, the books collectively enjoyed a better than $10.93 million win on the game. That's the seventh-best Super Bowl win for the house since the NGCB started keeping track of Super Bowl betting in 1991, according to David Purdum of ESPN.

As Purdum notes, the favorite team covering and the game hitting the over generally means bad news for sportsbooks since the public often takes favorites and the over. Indeed, that was the formula for much of the National Football League regular season that caused a lot of pain for sportsbooks, with their struggles compounded by the public switching gears and correctly picking upsets during a historically bad weekend just a few weeks ago.

However, the action on the Super Bowl was much more balanced, which made the game's result less significant to the house. For example, as Jay Rood, VP of race and sports at the MGM sportsbook told ESPN, "he ended up with 51 percent of the straight-bet money on the Patriots."

The game "dug us out of a hole," said Rood. "We needed this to make up for such a really bad end to the season."

Actually the fact that New England won in OT with a touchdown — making the final margin six points — and the game wasn't decided on a field goal turned out to be helpful to the sportsbooks.

A game-winning field goal would have made the final score 31-28, and as it happened the over/under was exactly 59 points for most of the two weeks leading up to the game. That, explains Purdum, would have resulted in a push and "a lengthy process of refunding millions of dollars in bets."

Read more postgame betting analysis at ESPN, as well as this look at some of the interesting Super Bowl prop bets that cashed.

Crown Resorts Limited Gets Permission to Build Melbourne Skyscraper

Melbourne's skyline is about to change in a big way after Crown Resorts Limited received permission this week to build the Australian capital's tallest building — a $2 billion, 90-story, 1,060-foot hotel and apartment complex that will connect to the Crown Casino via a pedestrian bridge.

Crown and its Executive Chairman James Packer received approval from the Victorian state government to construct the six-star hotel that will be known as One Queensbridge. The approval comes after the submission of a development application last spring, reports the Australian Financial Review. An exemption from central city planning controls had to be granted for construction of the tower to commence.

The news comes a couple of months after Crown's decision to sell off nearly half of its stake in Macau-based Melco Crown Entertainment and also abandon its Alon Las Vegas project, as we shared here in December.

Victorian planning minister Richard Wynne ruled the tower "was a project of state significance." Also helping toward earning the approval was the developers' commitment of $100 million toward community benefits, reports the AFR.

One Queensbridge will be the fourth Crown hotel in the Southbank district "and take the total number of guest rooms to more than 2,000 around the casino."

The skyscraper was first proposed back 2011, with plans getting jump-started after an agreement between Schiavello Group (the original developer) and Crown was struck in 2014. Construction is projected to complete in 2020, at which time the building will not only stand as the tallest in Melbourne, but in all of Australia, barely topping the 1,058 foot-high Gold Coast's Q1 in Queensland.

Visit AFR for more about One Queesbridge, including arguments for and against its construction.

Georgia Casino Gambling Bill Receives Hearing

Finally, yesterday a Georgia state senate committee heard about new legislation to allow casinos to be built in the state, reports the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer.

The legislation's sponsor, state senator Brandon Beach, spent 15 minutes outlining the bill before the Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee. No vote or action was taken by the committee who will have to vote in favor of the bill for it to proceed to the entire Senate.

According to the Ledger-Enquirer, the bill has already gone through a few iterations, with changes made primarily to satisfy keeping certain Georgia cities in play as possible sites for the casinos.

An original version set a county population limit at 250,000 minimum for a city to be considered, but the new version lowered that limit to 180,000, meaning not only would the metro Atlanta area and Savannah be considered, but Augusta and Columbus could be entertained as potential sites as well.

According to the bill, an Atlanta-based casino would require a minimum investment of $2 billion. One in Savannah would require a minimum of $450 million. Rep. Calvin Smyre, co-sponsor of a similar House bill, hopes for a third site to be considered, one he estimates would require between $200 million and $250 million.

Even if the bill makes it through the committee, both chambers of the General Assembly and gets signed into law by Governor Nathan Deal, further legislation calling for a statewide vote would still be needed, then if that vote were to pass "any jurisdiction that would want a casino, would have to hold an election in that county or city to approve the measure."

Read more about the bill and its prospects in the Ledger-Enquirer.

Photo: "Sports Book @ MGM" (adapted), Daniel Ramirez, CC BY 2.0.

  • This year's Super Bowl set a new standard for the amount of money bet at Nevada sportsbooks.

  • Crown receives approval to build tallest tower in Australia; Georgia lawmakers look at casino bill.

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