Why a Stanley Cup Win by the Golden Knights Would Cost Vegas’ Sportsbooks Millions

by Rick Rockwell
on May 25, 2018

Minute Read

Less than a year ago, the Vegas Golden Knights began the journey of constructing their team through an expansion draft. Today, they are the odds on favorite to win the Stanley Cup at -125 against the Washington Capitals. It has been an amazing story for this team, and one that has everyone in disbelief including their hometown sportsbooks.

The Greatest Expansion Draft Ever

Never before has an expansion team in any of the major professional sports had a winning season, let alone a run to the league championship. This feel good story can be traced back to the selection of several key players during their draft. Perhaps, the most important selection in that draft was goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.

The Golden Knights plucked him from the Pittsburgh Penguins as he was coming off a third Stanley Cup win. The Penguins chose to protect goalie Matt Murray instead of Fleury, and now the Golden Knights are the ones in the NHL Championship series while the Penguins were bounced from the playoffs by Vegas’ opponent the Washington Capitals.

Fleury has been nothing short of amazing and should end up winning the Conn Smythe Trophy, which is given to the MVP of the playoffs. During this postseason run, Fleury has gone 12-3 with a 1.68 goals against average, a .947 save percentage, and 4 shutouts. These numbers are a step up from his regular season brilliance where he went 29-13-4 with a 2.24 gaa and a .927 save percentage. He’s easily been the team’s best player.

However, Fleury isn’t the only player who has helped shape this team into the Stanley Cup favorites. In fact, look no further than Vegas’ top line to see where a lot of the success is coming from:

William Karlsson

The 25-year-old Forward had a brilliant regular season as he led the team with 43 goals, 35 assists and 78 total points in 82 games. In the playoffs, he’s tallied 13 points in 15 games. He’s second behind Marchessault with 6 goals and has also contributed 7 assists. He’s also notched two game winners in the playoffs.

Jonathan Marchessault

The 27-year-old Center had quite the season with 27 goals, 48 assists and 75 total points in 77 games this year. He’s continued his scoring output in the playoffs with 8 goals, 10 assists, and 18 total points in 15 games. Marchessault has become Vegas’ top scorer this postseason and he turned the tide in the series against Winnipeg by scoring 2 goals in their 3-1 Game 2 victory.

Reilly Smith

The 27-year-old RW finished the regular season with 60 points on 22 goals and 38 assists in 67 games. He is second on the team in postseason points with 16 and he leads the team with 14 assists.

Boom and Gloom

With the Cinderella story capturing the entire sports world, the Vegas Golden Knights have brought not only a boom to the NHL, but also to the city of Las Vegas and NBC. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Golden Knights are estimated to have created “a media value into the hundreds of millions.”

As for the ratings, NBC has reported that they’re also experiencing a boom due to the Golden Knights. According to Forbes.com, this series has been the best Stanley Cup playoff series in six years. It’s also up 70% over last year’s Western Conference Finals. Local ratings are through the roof and NBC has really made out due to the success of the Golden Knights. However, there is one industry that has not been as fortunate – Vegas’ sportsbooks.

As the Golden Knights are rewriting the history books and proving that hockey fairy tales do come true, they’re also proving to be a financial burden to their hometown sportsbooks.

At the beginning of the season, many of the local casinos put the odds of Vegas winning the Stanley Cup as high as 500-to-1. And now, those same sportsbooks are facing a loss in the millions. If this comes to fruition, it could be one of the biggest losses in recent memory.

CNN reports that the Las Vegas Hotel & Casino SuperBook took 13 tickets at 500-to-1 odds with the largest bet at $60. If the Golden Knights win the championship, that bet would earn $30,000 dollars.

Another source states that the MGM Resorts Sportsbooks has many small bets at 300-to-1 odds and a $200 bet, which would win $60,000. William Hill U.S. is on the hook for nearly $2 million and among the bets at Westgate Las Vegas Superbook there’s a $400 ticket at 300-to-1 odds which is a potential payout of $120,000.

According to ESPN, there have been many fans who took these longshot odds anywhere from 100-to-1 to 500-to-1 odds. However, the global sports network is also reporting that the financial damage isn’t just exclusive to the $5 to $6 million dollars in payouts if the hometown team wins the championship, there has already been millions paid out to local bettors all season long. In fact, it’s believed that the Golden Knights have been bet on 15 times more than any other hockey team. There are fans who have bet on every Vegas game this season and have won at an unbelievable rate.

The Final Score

The Vegas Golden Knights have provided not only hockey fans, but also sports betting fans a lot to follow and enjoy. Their betting story will go down as probably the largest futures sports betting loss in the history of Las Vegas sportsbooks. However, don’t feel bad for these establishments as they’ve definitely made adjustments throughout the year to recoup some of these losses. Additionally, you can bet they will make adjustments in the Stanley Cup Finals to lower some of their losses if Vegas wins the Stanley Cup.

My advice, sit back and enjoy this phenomenal ride that we’re witnessing, and if possible, try to win some money on the Golden Knights.

Rick Rockwell

As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site.

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