Sportsbooks Bank on College Bowl Games | News
LAS VEGAS - Las Vegas sportsbooks typically see millions of dollars for the college football bowl season, but 2013 might have a different ring to it.
Some of the most anticipated games of the postseason took place Tuesday. While it seemed betters were making a New Year's resolution to make more sports wagers, sportsbook operators say crowds were smaller than in previous years.
January 1 used to be one of the biggest days to bet on sports - with 16 to 18 college football games going on at once. Even with the Rose Bowl, 2013 appears to be off to a slow start.
Sportsbook directors blame the early game times. Four out of the six games scheduled New Year's Day started before noon. Pair that with New Year's Eve hangovers, and it's no surprise some bettors skipped the sportsbooks.
While sportsbook operators wouldn't say how much money was wagered Tuesday, they say the vibe was different this year. Since bettors lack a single weekend during which they can come to Las Vegas and watch all the games they want, they have to decide when to come out and watch games that are spread out during a few weeks.
"It was much more significant," said MGM Resorts Sportsbook Director Jay Rood. "Obviously, you had sixteen to eighteen games playing in a 48-hour period, and it was just a buffet of college football that everybody loved. You could plan to fly out to Vegas, and you knew you'd be able to see a plethora of college football games in a 48-hour period."
Sportsbooks need college football bets to improve their bottom line this year. NFL wagers have killed sportsbooks, as popular, favored teams have beat the point spread more times than not. According to the Los Angeles Times, Las Vegas sportsbooks have taken a staggering financial hit from the NFL's regular season.
Sportsbooks remain hopeful, however. Some of the biggest bowl games have not yet been played. The Sugar Bowl pitting Louisville against Florida takes place Wednesday evening. Plus, the national championship game between Notre Dame and Alabama takes place Monday.
Sportsbook officials say those teams possess huge, loyal fan bases that could translate to big crowds in Las Vegas this weekend.