Close but no cigar could be the post-theme of Super Bowl XL as far as a record Las Vegas Super Bowl handle is concerned. Pittsburgh defeated Seattle 21-10 Sunday -- easily covering the spread --- the total went way under 47, Bill Cowper finally won a Lombardi and the Bus finally rolled a stop, while on top. The $6,064,000 Question in the Land of Odds -- besides "Did you win or lose?" was "Will the handle surpass last year's standard of more than $90 million?" "I won't know until sometime Monday when I see all the numbers and things come together, but it's going to be close," said Tony Paonessa, race and sports book manager at Sam's Town. "Last year was close." Rich Baccellieri, race and sports director at the Palms, used the C word too. "It was amazing how close everything was," Bacellieri said, pointing to a differential of 50 in the number of tickets written on the two Super Bowl combatants among thousands sold.
"Right now I couldn't tell you what the city's handle was, just how we did here and our business was up 65 percent. "That creates so much juice. "But I'll tell you this: we needed Pittsburgh." Many Vegas Valley sports books kicked off at Steelers minus 4, but 4 1/2s were available throughout the wagering period (including at the Las Vegas Hilton) and 5s were spotted here and there. The Palms dove in at 3 1/2.
"We got money from every Seattle fan in the world," Baccellieri said, acknowledging he took "several" six-figure bets. "We had a lot of late money on the Seahawks, but the money line was fairly balanced." The Hilton also took a bundle on the Far Northwesterns -- until just before wagering windows were shuttered.
"We had lots of Seahawks backing until a last minute rush on the Steelers," said oddsmaker/supervisor Jeff Sherman. He also reported a win for the house. "Parlay cards had a good handle and average win, while props did very well," Sherman said. "It just took awhile to grade them." SuperBook boss Jay Kornegay had a strong opinion on Pittsbugh going into the game.
The Palms broke even on parlay cards, while Sam's Town reported a "small winning day." "The important thing is we didn't lose," Paonessa said, adding that the Boyd Group was a loser on the total. All three resorts reported heavy traffic as Sin City circumvented the NFL ban on Super Bowl parties by offering food and drink specials and showing the game on regulation-sized TVs throughout the casinos.
"We were busy, but I've seen better," Paonessa said. "We were busy all day," said Baccellieri, a veteran Caesars Palace employee who hadn't been in Vegas for the Super Bowl in five or six years "Always before I saw it from the perspective of a major Strip hotel," he continued. "It was fun, different, to view it from an off-Strip one.
"I'd call it a decent day." Not even close. .
By: Lynda Collins