By Frank Pingue
(Reuters) - The total amount of bets placed in Nevada sportsbooks on this year's Super Bowl was the lowest since 2016 due largely to indoor capacity limits related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Nevada Gaming Control Board said on Tuesday.
Sunday's clash between Tom Brady's Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Patrick Mahomes's Kansas City Chiefs was hyped as the greatest quarterback matchup in Super Bowl history, but fewer tourists in Nevada because of the virus took a toll on betting.
The value of bets placed in Nevada's 184 sportsbooks was $136 million, or 12% lower than the $154.7 million wagered on last year's Super Bowl between Kansas City and San Francisco, according to unaudited figures.
Nevada sportsbooks kept a combined $12.6 million from Super Bowl bets, or 9.2% of the total placed. That was down from the $18.8 million, or 12.1%, that they kept last year.
"The capacity restrictions in place to stop the spread of COVID-19 presented a very challenging operating environment for Nevada's Sports Books," the Nevada Gaming Control Board said in an email to Reuters.
"In Nevada, Super Bowl handle is driven by visitation and Las Vegas along with other areas across the state are destination markets for customers to come and wager on the game."
The Buccaneers were the first team to play a Super Bowl on their home field and entered the NFL's championship game as a three-point underdog against the defending champion Chiefs.
Brady threw three first-half touchdowns in the Bucs' 31-9 victory to earn his record-extending seventh Super Bowl title. He also improved his own record by being named the game's Most Valuable Player for a fifth time.
The Super Bowl in 2018 generated a record $158.6 million in wagers at Nevada sportsbooks while the biggest profit recorded by the Western state's sportsbooks from the NFL's showcase came in 2014 when they pocketed $19.7 million.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Toby Davis)