Capitals Save Vegas Bookies Bigtime

Photo: John Locher/AP

This year’s historic run by the Vegas Golden Knights set “Sin City” abuzz with enthusiasm, as the entire City seemingly caught Knights fever. But not everyone in Las Vegas was feeling the buzz of the success of the Ciiy’s first professional sports franchise. Vegas oddsmakers were shaking in their Gucci boots, and inside, cheering hard for the Washington Capitals, as they were collectively staring a potential loss that would have been extremely damaging to the sports gambling industry in Las Vegas. 

To re-set the scene, preseason future tickets for the Knights to win it all at some Vegas sports books were paying out as much as 500:1. This means if someone bet $20 at those odds on Vegas to win the Cup, and Vegas did, he/she would have received a $10,020 payout.  It’s turns out a lot of people took a flyer-bet on the Knights last summer. As a result, Vegas oddsmakers were looking at a serious blow if the Knights had won it all. For what it’s worth, the Capitals were 14:1 odds to win it all last September.

Darkening Horizons
According to an article in the New York Times, Station Casinos was staring at a seven-figure liability if the Golden Knights capped their inaugural season by winning the Stanley Cup. The liability was the largest for any futures’ bet accepted by a sportsbook in decades.

The Executive Director of sports betting at the Wynn in Las Vegas said it was one of the largest liabilities in his sports booking history at the Wynn, as they were staring at a $5-10 million dollar loss of the Knights won it all.

Midseason Reality Check
About half-way through the 2017-2018 NHl season, Vegas oddsmakers began to sense they might be in trouble, as many of the sports books began to offer “buyouts” during the season. Some buyouts as much as $150,000.

Westgate super book offered exchange of Knights bets (tickets) for a “field bet”, back in January. Essentially they were offering a ticket for all of the other 30 teams, meaning you would win at their odds. They were staring at a $5,ooo,ooo loss alone if the Knights won it all.

Capitals Save The Day
As one Vegas oddsmaker told the Toronto Star back in February, If the Vegas Golden Knights win the Stanley Cup, Jay Kornegay will be front and centre at the victory parade. But as a Vegas oddsmaker who listed the expansion team at 200-to-1 to win its division and 500-to-1 to win the Stanley Cup, he joked, “I’ll be there with my resume.”

Mr. Kornegay, you can send your “thank you” message to 627 North Glebe Road #850, Arlington, Virginia. Attn: Washington Capitals.

By Jon Sorensen

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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