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Sports books could see record year

LAS VEGAS -- Many recovered from their New Year's Eve parties by watching bowl games on the first day of 2015.

Las Vegas not only counts on the revelers taking to the streets to welcome the new year, it also banks on the money spent on sports betting the next day.

Sports books are on a record pace and the college football championship may be the reason.

"This country loves football, they love betting football," said Jay Kornegay,  vice president of sports and race operations at Westgate SuperBook.

Historically, New Year's Day is a big day for sports books. There are five bowl games which is a major draw for those looking to place bets.

"We bet everything, college football, NBA, NFL, the Super Bowl weekend, we do it all," said Kevin Tolbert from Austin, Texas.

"Love Vegas, love the sports book, and so we're watching the Wisconsin game," said Mike O'Neil from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The sports books love the new college football playoff format which includes a more "true" championship game.

"Well it's been an impact all season long, instead of just talking about two teams being in the championship game, we have four teams vying for these playoff spots," Kornegay said.

The extra game creates extra betting opportunities which means more cash coming across the counters.

"I would certainly compare the interest to these playoff games to NFL playoff games, it's not Super Bowl numbers, but very positive for the sports books," Kornegay said.

Through November 2014, Nevada sports books cleared $229 million in sports bets since the previous November, according to the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

That's nearly 11 percent higher than during that same time in 2013 which was a record year for sports books.

It's a trend Kornegay doesn't see changing anytime soon.

"A lot of people are warming up to betting football and I think this is going to continue for 2015 and the numbers that we've seen so far are very, very positive," he said.

Final numbers will be available once December's numbers are tabulated, but for now they do show double-digit gains for sports books for the third straight year.


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