Nevada sports books lose $6.6 million, blame Stanley Cup win by Vegas’ NHL team

Members of the Vegas Golden Knights celebrate after defeating the Florida Panthers 9-3 to win the Stanley Cup.
The Vegas Golden Knights celebrate after defeating the Florida Panthers 9-3 in Game 5 to win the Stanley Cup on June 13 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. (John Locher / Associated Press)

For the record:
7:44 a.m. July 31, 2023: An earlier version of this story misstated that the Golden Knights became Las Vegas’ first major U.S. professional sports team in 2018. The WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces began play earlier that year.

The Vegas Golden Knights won their first Stanley Cup last month.

As a result, Nevada’s sports books lost.

And lost big.

According to the Nevada Gaming Control Board, state sports books lost a staggering $6.6 million on hockey wagers in June — the largest monthly loss in hockey since the state started tracking that category in January 2020.

“Yeah, that’s a significant loss for a sports betting category, definitely,” Michael Lawton, senior economic analyst for the Nevada Gaming Control Board, told The Times Friday.

The only NHL action taking place that month was the Stanley Cup Final between the Golden Knights and Florida Panthers, starting with Game 1 on June 3. Folks in Nevada bet $323 million on hockey in June, and the majority of them were putting their money behind the local team.

Read more: Elliott: Golden Knights pummel the Panthers, coasting to their first Stanley Cup title

There’s a good chance some of those bettors saw their gamble pay off in person, as Vegas clinched the title June 13 with a 9-3 win in Game 5 at T-Mobile Arena.

When the Golden Knights started as an NHL expansion team in 2018, they were the first major men’s U.S. professional team to call the city home, after the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces, previously known as the San Antonio Stars, began play earlier that year.

Since then, the NFL’s Raiders relocated to Las Vegas from Oakland, and MLB’s Oakland Athletics are planning on doing the same sometime soon. And there has been talk of an NBA expansion team landing in Sin City in the not-too-distant future.

In light of all that, Lawton said, the Knights’ success is a big win for Las Vegas, despite a rough month for the sports books.

“From my understanding, the overall consensus is that the town is more happy for the Knights than they are about sports books losing money in the month of June,” he said. “Everyone’s pretty happy for the exposure it gave the city. It was a good thing.”

Read more: How an FBI agent’s wild Vegas weekend stained an investigation into NCAA basketball corruption

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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