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Dan Ippolito

As Casino City's associate editor, Dan produces and edits all of our weekly newsletters, and he writes about the gaming industry for our websites and the GPWA Times Magazine. Dan graduated from Marist College in 2017 with a degree in Communications and a concentration in Sports.

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Casino City’s Friday Five: Las Vegas casino and Super Bowl betting handle edition

12 Feb 2021

By Dan Ippolito
After COVID-19 changed the look of land-based casinos around the world, there was a wonder if we would see a sense of normalcy again, especially in Las Vegas. However, after news broke on Thursday regarding restriction changes in Nevada, we are starting to trend back to what we remember Sin City being.

Before we get into that, we also have the newest Las Vegas resort opening next month, another casino resort in the Bahamas getting ready to welcome back guests for the first time, a massive jackpot win out of Atlantic City and some Super Bowl betting numbers.

Let’s start the week off with some football:

5. Super Bowl LV wagers
On Tuesday, the Nevada Gaming Control Board released figures showing that $136.1 million was wagered in Nevada's 184 sportsbooks on this year's Super Bowl.

Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairman Brin Gibson said, "Unaudited figures show a sportsbook win of $12,574,125 was recorded on wagers totaling $136,096,460. This resulted in a hold percentage of 9.2%."

This hold percentage is down from 2020’s 12.1% hold when the Kansas City Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers 31-20.

Heading over to Pennsylvania, we saw preliminary figures showing $53,634,680 was wagered in the state on last weekend’s Super Bowl through retail and online sportsbooks. That was a 74% increase over wagers placed on the game last year.

After payouts, revenue is expected to be $9,418,535 following a negative revenue amount from 2020 Super Bowl wagering, according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

New Jersey had a similar hold percentage, but slightly higher, compared to Nevada. New Jersey reported nearly a 9.6% hold, along with a handle of $117.4 million on the Super Bowl. The handle is an increase of 117% compared to last year’s Super Bowl, according to the Division of Gaming Enforcement.

New Hampshire sportsbooks had a different outcome. The state’s lottery reported that $7.1 million was wagered on the game but $8.8 million was paid out, resulting in a loss of roughly $1.7 million. This could be due to many in New Hampshire being Patriots fans who are still pushing for the success of Tom Brady despite being a Buccaneer now. The one bright takeaway that New Hampshire books can see is that nearly $5 million more was bet on this year’s Super Bowl compared to last year.

Colorado’s Gaming Control Commission saw $31.2 million in total wagers take place for Super Bowl LV. However, over 10% of that was from Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale’s $3.46 million bet via DraftKings on Tampa Bay at +3.5.

4. First responder wins big at Hard Rock Casino Atlantic City
First responder and firefighter James of Middletown, N.J. won $250,000 cash at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino - Atlantic City last week.

James was the grand prize winner of the Progressive Sweepstakes.

3. SLS Baha Mar reopening on 4 March in Bahamas
SLS Baha Mar, the first international SLS property, will reopen to international travelers on 4 March 2021, marking the final phase of Baha Mar resort destination's reopening.

SLS Baha Mar will reopen with heightened safety and health measures in place. Revised cleanliness protocols include complimentary on-site COVID-19 testing, enhanced housekeeping and engineering, heightened food safety and digital ordering, touchless payments, and additional technology methods that allow for an abundance of contactless experiences from the moment guests check in.

2. Nevada sees capacity limit increase
In an announcement made last night, Governor Steve Sisolak brought forth good news to the people of Nevada regarding capacity limits.

Monday is a big day in Nevada as casinos and gaming floors in the state will see the capacity limit increase from 25% to 35%.

This is all due to the decline in COVID-19 cases and if Nevada continues that trend, casinos could see the limit go to 50% in March. In May, the capacity limits could be in control of each county, according to Governor Sisolak.

In addition to the casinos, restaurants and bars will also go to 35% capacity on 15 February.

“The goal of this plan is to avoid a scenario where I have to come before all of you again and pause our efforts,” Governor Sisolak said at a virtual press conference. “I believe this plan can work, but we must all invest in making it successful.”

This is a major step in the right direction as cases go down and casinos and resorts aim to get their patrons back.

1. Virgin Hotels Las Vegas to open on 25 March
Yesterday, President and CEO of JC Hospitality, owner of Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, Richard “Boz” Bosworth announced that Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, part of the Curio Collection by Hilton, is scheduled to open on Thursday, 25 March.

The off-Strip resort, located on the site of the former Hard Rock Casino Hotel, will feature three hotel towers with over 1,500 rooms and suites, a 60,000 square-foot casino and five-acre pool oasis. There will also be a live music and entertainment theater with 4,500 capacity and a portfolio of 12 food and beverage venues.

“Today we are not only celebrating the fact that we finally get to welcome back guests to the most exciting resort to open in Las Vegas in years, but we also get to bring our team members back to work,” said Bosworth.
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