Seahawks game leads to $15 million swing off Nevada books
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/08/2012 -- Jimmy Vaccaro, one of Nevada’s leading bookmakers, said in three decades in the sports handicapping industry, he has never seen anything like the controversial ending to the Monday Night Football game between the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers.
Not only did the Seahawks win the game, they emerged victors in the Las Vegas sports books, thanks to what is widely regarded as one of the worst calls ever made by an official.
As a result, said Vaccaro, the Nevada books saw a $15 million swing. “You think I would have seen it all (after all these years),” said Vaccaro, William Hill race and sports book public relations director. “But, no, I haven’t seen a call like that.”
Wynn Race and Sports Book Director John Avello told ESPN that the international swing was as high as $150 million.
At Vaccaro’s William Hill sports book, Green Bay closed as a 3.5-point betting favorite and was covering with a 12-7 advantage until the last play of the game. Seattle quarterback Russel Wilson threw a Hail Mary pass into the end zone and receiver Golden Tate tussled with Green Bay defender M.D. Jennings as both ended up in the end zone with partial position.
Television analysts say the subsequent touchdown call was blown.
While Green Bay fans commiserated that evening and the following day, so did those who lost bets in Las Vegas.
“I guess you can consider that a bad beat if you had the Packers and a good win if you had Seattle,” Vaccaro said. “You make a bet before the game starts; you never know what the conclusion will be.”
Although a $15 million swing represents a great deal of money, it is relative peanuts compared to other games booked recently, said Vaccaro.
He said the San Francisco 49ers were seven-point favorites at the Minnesota Vikings and bet by gamblers on straight bets and parlay and teaser cards. Had that game ended in a disputed call, Las Vegas would have seen more mayhem, as 90% of the money was on San Francisco. “That would have been a major decision, a monster swing for the sports books in Nevada,” he said.
Still, the Seattle game’s outcome will not hamper business in future weeks, said Vaccaro. “If it were the regular referees, it would have died down by now,” he said.
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