It happens every season. One Sunday, favorites will dominate the card. And, like clockwork, media reports will surface detailing how sports books “got killed” while gamblers cashed winner after winner.
But here’s the deal: Nevada sports books haven’t had a losing football season, ever. Period.
The worst year Nevada books had handling football bets was 1992. They made $19.8M which was 2.69% of the $735M bet on football in Nevada books that year. Since then, Nevada books have never made less than $30M in any year handling football bets.
Their best year was 2006 when bettors were particularly terrible and lost 8.02% of the $1.13 billion they bet on football games (NFL and NCAA), providing sports books with gross revenue of $91.1M from football betting. That led to the most profitable year ever for Nevada sports books as they made $288M.
Now, the LA Times published a story on how bad sports books are faring during this NFL season. From the article:
The result is what one Las Vegas sports bookmaker called a “staggering” financial hit from the NFL regular season, as bettors handed Nevada sports books their worst year in memory.
Did the article cite any actual numbers? Nope. So we will. And these figures are directly from the Nevada Gaming Commission, in case you’re curious.
Through the first 10 months of 2012, Nevada sports books have handled $1.28 billion in wagers – a record amount. And books have ‘won’ $96.8M. During the first 10 months of 2011, books ‘won’ only $37.4M so this year’s first 10 months represent a 158% growth rate over 2011.
More specifically, sports books won $44M on football bets in the quarter ending October 31, 2012. Yes, you read that correctly. The LA Times has a story about how sports books are getting killed when, in fact, sports books won more money in football bets during August, September and October than they won in all sports combined during the entire 2011 calendar year.
The LA Times also points out that books are getting “killed” because favorites are covering the spread. Well, underdogs covered 52% of the games during this NFL season.
Unfortunately, Deadspin has parroted this LA Times story without actually adding any data or refuting any of the inaccurate assessments. And Deadspin even managed to add this stunningly inaccurate zinger:
Occasionally sportsbooks will shift lines based on lopsided action, but they do their damnedest to avoid it.
So, as you read more and more of these articles, remember reality: Nevada sports books don’t lose money because bettors are winning too much. It doesn’t happen.