Despite all-too-common instances of media hype, sports books have achieved a fairly consistent rate of return on football wagering recent football seasons. Their hold rates are pretty lucrative as well, considering the house edge on a standard straight bet is only -- or should I say "only?" -- approximately 4.5 percent. Now, about those hold rates on football parlay cards ...
Every so often during the football season, a quotation from a Nevada sports book manager will show up in the media intending to describe how the book fared during a weekend of gambling action. It usually goes something like this: “Well, the house did very well on Saturday, but the bettors killed us on Sunday.” Alas, the actual meaning of those comments is the same as Michael Corleone’s final offer to Senator Pat Geary. Nothing.
Football wagering in Nevada sports books accounts for about 44 percent of the total sports betting handle here, which exceeded $2.7 billion last year. Despite inconsequential statements from industry flacks, it turns out recent performances by Nevada sports books in football have been consistent.
With the NFL’s owners and players mired in a labor impasse that could jeopardize the forthcoming season, it seems an appropriate time to review some figures on football betting in Nevada that do have substance.
In the 2010-11 football season, Nevada books won $63.6 million from gamblers, holding 5.3 percent of the total of $1.2 billion wagered, according to the state Gaming Control Board. In 2009-10, books won $67.7 million, holding 6.2 percent of $1.1 billion wagered. And in 2008-09, books won $57.2 million, holding 5.2 percent of $1.1 billion wagered.
All figures encompass the entire football season, from the preseason schedule through the Super Bowl, and combine betting action on college and pro football. The Gaming Control Board does not track NFL betting separately.