ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:
The Super Bowl may have been played in Phoenix, but it was big business in Las Vegas. Not only could you bet on whether the Patriots would cover the point spread but there were proposition bets on individual player's statistics, even on who would win the coin toss.
With a Super Bowl whose outcome was so unexpected, the 12-point underdog New York Giants winning in a surprisingly low-scoring game, we wondered how things turned out for gamblers. Well, Anthony Curtis is president of LasVegasAdvisor.com and he joins us no from Las Vegas.
What's the mood like where you watched the Super Bowl last night?
ANTHONY CURTIS: The mood in the casino was leading up to the game was as it's always is crazy time and everybody's excited. I was at a private gathering but the mood was sort of mirrored that everybody just as if they were in a sports book, they all had bets writing and everyone was exciting and it was a bombastic scene.
SIEGEL: Well, when did there is a big upset and when the underdog wins - not only beats the point spread but actually wins the game - does that mean that the house loses in Las Vegas or are they so well hedge that they can't lose?
CURTIS: We don't know yet. The numbers aren't in yet completely. The feeling on the street in that the house got beat up a little. Now, does that mean that the house lost money or does it mean that they didn't hold at their regular rates? I'm not sure yet. I'm guessing that the house probably didn't lose but it was probably close to a break-even proposition, which for them, they're not in business to break even.
The casinos do not necessarily balance their action all the time and the casinos - it sounds like - took a position on the Patriots on the Patriots, hence, they would get beat.
SIEGEL: I thought they were like the Federal Reserve, you know, when there's too much going in one direction, they - when they put and they went across the street and bet on the other one, to make sure...
CURTIS: They try, you know, I mean, in an ideal world, you would want to balance the action all the way and then the bookie is guaranteed of making his money, but that's not, in real life, it's not really the way it works. The casinos usually are heavy on one side or the other. And it's - there's a lot of mathematical reasons for it and there's a lot of justification, business-wise, for doing it. And overall, it works for them, because they pay out less and they take in on, you know, the winners versus the losers. But this time, they were, you know, they had a position on the Patriots this time.
SIEGEL: Now, in addition to the upset win by the Giants, what were some surprises on these proposition bets?
CURTIS: You know, it's hard to say what is surprising and what isn't, but I mean, there were just some amazing ones. There were literally, you know, Kobe Bryant versus the total score for the Patriots, which Kobe won. Another one was with the national anthem go over under one minute and 47 seconds.
(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)
CURTIS: You know, I mean, it goes on and on and on. And when somebody says that was a great surprise, you know, these things are celebrated, so they're pretty close to coin flips, so it's hard to say there was a big surprise. You know, one thing is that over time almost happened, and that would have been a very big surprise because it's never happened in the Super Bowl, but it didn't happen again yesterday.
SIEGEL: I guess, if the Giants had had to settle for a field goal on their last possession and if they'd made it rather than making a touchdown, that would have put the game into over time.
CURTIS: Yeah. Where I was watching it, I was in, you know, I actually ended up watching it a private party with a lot of very serious sports gamblers, and the fact that there's never been a over time, less as a bet that they tend to make. And I'll tell you there was a great cheer when that - when Bert(ph) caught that last touchdown pass because then it was obvious there's was not going to be an overtime, and these guys had wagered anywhere from laying eight- and-a-half to one, to ten to one against overtime.
SIEGEL: And that's just might be one of many, many bets that they placed on the game, you mean?
CURTIS: Oh, yeah, I mean, most of the guys and girls in that room had a uppers of 20, 25 bets a piece, do you know? But maybe these guys were betting a thousand a wager. But a lot of people go to these books and bet $10, $20 on 10 different things, so they're putting a hundred, $200 down and they're getting so much action and fun, and you know, added excitement for their dollar during that game.
It's one of the things that has, I think, propels the Super Bowl to its levels here in Las Vegas, and really anywhere where people make bets.
SIEGEL: Anthony Curtis, thank you very much for talking with us.
CURTIS: My pleasure.
SIEGEL: Anthony Curtis - he's president of LasVegasAdvisor.com.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.