At the time, Nick Bogdanovich thought he would give the Vegas Golden Knights reasonably priced odds. Bogdanovich's William Hill sports betting list the city's hockey team as 250-to-1 long-shots to win the Stanley Cup in their first year of existence. The real chances before the season, he said, should have been closer to 2,500 to 1.
"Every expert ended it as the last or perhaps second to last in the Western Conference," said Bogdanovich, William Hill's chief opportunist.
With the Golden Knights having a game advantage in Game 2 on Wednesday night, William Hill could have three Vegas victories before losing just under $ 2 million. A weather is for $ 1
Casinos along the Strip face similar circumstances, and total liability in Las Vegas was estimated at $ 5-7 million, which would likely mark the city's largest loss on futures betting
"We're going to be wrong, and we just have to pay, "said Bogdanovich. "That's just the nature of the beast."
These Stanley Cup Finals are a unique case study, a nexus of hometown roots and legal sports betting. With states across the country annulling a federal law that had previously banned sports betting, states could soon find an easier way to both rooted and financially interested in their favorite games. The series also highlights the risks, especially for the house. In Las Vegas, the locals have supported the Long Shot and the casinos are now ready for a big hit.
While seven-digit losses on the surface sound big, casinos are used to occasionally taking their lumps. Jay Kornegay, who runs the sports book at Westgate Las Vegas, compared the potential success with a really bad weekend during the football season.
With hundreds – and probably many more – Golden Knights tickets floating in the city, bets have been made for months. All in all, there are big deals ahead of time. PropSwap is a secondary sports book marketplace that allows players to unload active tickets for guaranteed cash rather than waiting for the game or event.
"It's a way for you to get rich and your team can still win," said co-founder Luke Pergande. "Some people may describe it as an emotional hedge."
The largest Vegas ticket currently listed on PropSwap was originally purchased for $ 300 at 400 to 1 odds. It would pay out $ 120,000 if the knights win three more games. Weather could buy this ticket now for the price of $ 95,000.
Pergande knows the risks and rewards. Finally, he bought a $ 50 ticket in October at a rate of 500 to 1. "I did not think they would win the trophy," he said, "but I knew the number did not feel right."
After the hot launch of the Knights, he sold the ticket in November for $ 550, a tenfold return on his investment. The new owner of this ticket will now earn $ 25,000.
"I have no regrets," said Pergande. "I basically hit a 10 to 1 winner and paid my rent, who will cry about it?"
Oddsmakers in the city agree that most Golden Knights tickets have been bought as souvenirs, a souvenir for fans to customize and store. Kornegay said that he has still heard from fans who recently claimed that they were already convinced in October that the knights were destined for the final.
"I do not believe them." Oh, I saw that coming. & # 39; Sure, you have it, "he said with a giggle," why did you only bet $ 10? "
There is at least one hockey fan who has already cashed in a big ticket and insists that he wants to He also predicted that they would compete against the caps, motivated by historical trends and player premonitions, a Washington man named Howard dropped in early October Pair bets back. (The Washington Post agreed to use only its first name as its bet was made with an online sportsbook.) He felt good about the Caps and Golden Knights and bet $ 100 on Vegas to win the finals At a quota of 300 to 1, the Golden Knights paid $ 30,000 after they won the Western Conference Howard could win another $ 1,000 if the caps – at a rate of 10-1 – hoist the trophy.
Howard believed in Vegas General Manager George McPhee, and felt good with the use of goalkeeper Marc-Andre Fleury. He firmly believed that the team and the city would respond to mass shootings in October, much like the Red Sox who won the 2013 World Series after the bombing of the Boston Marathon. "It dawned on me how the tragedy can motivate a team and motivate players to another level [and] inspire a fan base to engage more," he said.
The hockey team has certainly become a rallying point for Las Vegas The arrival of the Golden Knights changed the nature of hockey betting in Las Vegas. It has historically been a low-dollar business for sports books, but interest in the team sent many new fans rushing to the betting windows.
The professional players counting on a dreadful team were crushed and reconverted from Day 1 The Puckheads continued to win bets, courtesy of a team that nullified all expectations.
"Look, I've been in business since 1986. I said that I think it would boost hockey a bit, but nothing significant," Bogdanovich said. "I think the main reason I was wrong is that they started fast and won from day one, the whole city was drinking the punch, and many started betting on hockey as soon as they started looking, they liked it They started making bets and they won money and the whole thing jumped and jumped. "
Kornegay estimates that his sports bets are 15 to 20 times more action at Golden Knights competitions than other NHLs Games. And because the Golden Knights usually won – a 47-31 record against the spread, including 28-13 at home – local fans betting their hearts often won.
Home team bets were largely a new experience for locals. Although sports books have been betting on UNLV games since 2001, the Golden Knights were the first major gambling-friendly local sporting event that saw the entire community succeed.
Kornegay is a long-time bookmaker, but also a sports fan and a Golden Ticket holder of the Knights. He knows that his employer will lose money in this series, but he also knows that the team has been a great asset to the local community.
"Most of us are all around them," he said. "When we book games, we always book for the best interests of our business, but when I go, I can put on my fan hat and root for our team, everyone here is on board and happy to have something like the Golden Knight, for the it applies. "