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Monday, February 2
'There was real good action'

Associated Press

LAS VEGAS -- Sports books were Super Bowl winners, too.

A favorable point spread given to the Carolina Panthers and a belief that the New England Patriots would win the NFL title game produced a significant increase in Super Bowl betting.

"We did almost 15 percent more business than we did last year," said Bob Scucci, sports book director for the Stardust hotel-casino.

"There was real good action," he said Monday, one day after the Patriots beat the Panthers 32-29. "I was surprised how much betting came in."

Scucci said the Stardust took more than $1 million in bets, most coming in the 48 hours before kickoff.

John Avello, director of Race & Sports Book operations at Bally's and Paris Las Vegas, said his casinos barely had enough room to accommodate all the bettors.

"It was absolutely tremendous," he said. "It was great. It was that kind of Super Bowl."

Frank Streshley, a research analyst with the state Gaming Control Board, said the amount wagered in Nevada might be released Tuesday. Last year, $71.6 million was wagered on the Super Bowl, short of the $77.2 million betting record set in 1998.

David Carruthers, chief executive officer of, an offshore gambling company in Costa Rica, said his site totaled $23 million on 459,000 wagers on this year's game, an increase of about 206,000 from last year.

Scucci said many bettors took the Panthers without the seven points oddsmakers had favored the Patriots by.

When the Panthers lost and the Patriots failed to cover the spread, the sports books won.

Oddsmakers also had placed the game's total at about 38 points, meaning fans could bet on whether the teams combined to score more or less points. The 61 points surprised many experts who had forecast a defensive struggle.

Wagers at the Stardust ranged from which team called the first timeout to whether there would be overtime.

Scucci said the overtime proposition was one of the most popular and drew a lot of $10,000 and $20,000 bets. Most believed there wouldn't be an overtime, he said.

They were correct. No Super Bowl has gone to overtime.

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