‘Super-Strong’ Betting on Las Vegas Raiders’ Home Debut

Posted on: September 22, 2020, 11:14h. 

Last updated on: September 22, 2020, 01:51h.

The sports world has attempted to keep gambling at bay, but that’s all changing with the recent rise of sportsbooks across the nation. Now with the Las Vegas Raiders, sportsbetting in the city has risen to a new level of success.

Las Vegas Raiders Allegiant Stadium
The Las Vegas Raiders won their debut at new Allegiant Stadium 34-24 on Monday night against New Orleans. (Image: Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)

In nearly 20 years, betting and professional football were at odds. In 2002, the NFL wouldn’t even allow the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority to air Super Bowl ads during the championship game. Five years later, in 2007, Las Vegas hosted the NBA All-Star Game under the provision that sportsbooks wouldn’t take any bets on the game.

In 2015, the NFL short-circuited a fantasy football convention featuring then-Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, among numerous other NFL players. That’s because it was being held at a Las Vegas convention center connected to a casino.

But that’s all changed. The NHL’s Las Vegas Golden Knights, who debuted during the 2017-18 season, have been a major hit. And on Monday night, the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders played their first home game in $1.84 billion Allegiant Stadium. It was a historic moment, even if there were no fans in the stands because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It really has come full circle,” said Nick Bogdanovich, the director of trading at William Hill, to Casino.org on Tuesday. “We begged and pleaded for the longest time that, ‘It’s OK, it’s OK’ and, voila, all of a sudden, it happened.

“I drive by that stadium on the Strip all the time and it’s weird that you can’t go in it and watch the games,” he continued. “You’ve got this shiny new toy and you can’t play with it. It’s very weird from that standpoint. But it looked pretty beautiful inside, that’s for sure.”

Betting No Longer Taboo

For the NFL, and professional sports in general, the arrival of the Raiders in Las Vegas was a sign of the changing times. With the advent of sports betting technology and the rise of sportsbooks across the nation, the fear of having Vegas-based teams has died. Besides, there’s money to be made, as evidenced by the casino advertising ringing Allegiant Stadium.

All the sports have embraced it,” Bogdanovich told Casino.org. “Listen, it’s part of society. In England, it’s been that way for a hundred years, and now we’re with it. As long as people do it responsibly, it’s a great thing.

“It makes the game much more fun,” Bogdanovich continued. “A lot of people in a blowout, they turn off their TV in the third quarter. Well, they’re not turning that TV off in the third quarter now because that over/under is yet to be decided, or the player prop is yet to be decided. I think you’ll see people tune in for the whole game instead of leaving.”

The Raiders had to pay the NFL a whopping $378 million to relocate from Oakland. Moreover, gambling means an added interest in games, added interest in games means higher TV ratings, and higher TV ratings mean more money in the next set of TV contracts.

Good Day for Sportsbooks

While the pandemic has taken a big bite out of the number of people visiting Las Vegas and opening their wallet at casinos, the first game in Las Vegas was a win for sportsbooks.

“It was super-strong,” Bogdanovich told Casino.org. “There were a lot of things going on. It was Vegas, obviously, being at home. But it was a classic matchup. Plus, the public had a really good weekend, so they had more money in their pockets, so they probably bet extra on that game last night. There was a ton of money on that game.”

Ed Salmons, the vice president of risk management and oddsmaking at Westgate SuperBook, said the first NFL game in Las Vegas was a “big deal.”

We had a huge group of Saints fans in our sportsbook and tons of Raiders fans,” Salmons told Casino.org. “The handle for the game and halftime was much, much higher than a normal Monday night game. The result was very good for the book.”

At William Hill, the Raiders were 4.5-point underdogs to the Saints, who were considered a top Super Bowl contender. Las Vegas delivered a 34-24 upset victory.

“When it’s the last game of the betting cycle, all the liability is rolling into the one game, so it’s usually lose-lose,” Bogdanovich said. “We really needed Vegas to win outright, so it was a good result. New Orleans winning outright, we would have been just crushed. We didn’t really win anything. But it was a great result for the house. It saved us from mass destruction.”