Indy, Vegas Big Winners in Super Bowl

As Sunday draws closer, big bets are being made on the Super Bowl by fans hoping to hit it big. But the biggest winners of all may be Indianapolis and Las Vegas.

As the host city, Indianapolis anticipates making $200 million to $250 million from the four-day weekend. Last year, Dallas hosted the Super Bowl and reportedly made about $200 million -- and that was in the middle of a huge ice storm.

Marc Lotter, Communications Director for the Mayor’s office in Indianapolis, estimates $160 million has been spent on the downtown area to get ready for the big event. The area has been converted into a pedestrian plaza and mall with many restaurants adding extensions with extra seating to accommodate the crowds, according to city officials.

“This is a four-year planning process, the city was awarded Super Bowl four years ago,” he said. “Hotels are basically all booked up downtown. You can still get a few in the suburbs that aren’t booked.”

Hotels and restaurants won’t be the only things busy this weekend. For bookmakers in Las Vegas, the Super Bowl is the biggest event of the year.

“The goal this year is to surpass $90 million,” said Todd Furhman, Senior Race and Sports Analyst for Caesars Entertainment in Las Vegas. “It’s not uncommon to get six-figure wagers for the game.”

The majority of the bets happen a few days before the game. New York fans are driving the betting with 65% of all money on the game coming from Giants fans. Of course, the betting will happen all the way up until kick-off, during half-time and then in combinations of statistical bets during the game. For example, betting on combined sacks between teams, or defensive touchdowns in the game is popular.  And there are multiple ways to make bets, not just a straightforward bet on each team.

“Our motto around here is if you can’t find a bet to make on the Super Bowl action,” said Fuhrman, “then you are not looking hard enough.”

Furhman concedes that Vegas is nervous this year. In 2008 when these two teams faced each other in the Super Bowl and the Giants were the underdog and won, the bookmakers lost $2.6 million.

That year “was one of the worst losing years in net results in a long time, going back to 1991,” said Furhman.

Six weeks ago, Las Vegas had the Giants at 100-1 odds to be in the Super Bowl.  That was after the New York team lost to the Green Bay Packers and before the huge comeback.

Meanwhile, the event will draw more than 150,000 people into Indianapolis, more than 100 corporate events will take place and more than 75 bands will perform this week in the city.

“The event will be attended by corporate leaders and decision makers,” said Lotter, “and having them leave with a good impression of the city is good for future tourism and a potential convention location.”