Las Vegas sportsbooks save millions thanks to Capitals' Stanely Cup win over long-shot Golden Knights

Ethan Miller/Getty ImagesSportsbooks in Las Vegas were bailed out of paying out some huge winnings to bettors who backed the Golden Knights when the expansion franchise was a 500-1 long shot to win the Stanley Cup.
  • The Washington Capital won the Stanley Cup on Thursday night, taking down the upstart Vegas Golden Knights in five games.
  • With the win, the Capitals saved sportsbooks in Las Vegas millions, as the expansion franchise had been available at odds as long as 500/1 before the season started.
  • Despite the huge payout it would have required, oddsmakers expressed that they would have been willing to take the hit if it meant their team was winning the Stanley Cup.

The Washington Capitals won the Stanley Cup on Thursday night, defeating the Vegas Golden Knights to take home the most iconic trophy in sports.

The result was disappointing for fans of the Golden Knights, who went from a rag-tag roster of misfits to a Stanley Cup contender in 11 short months and exceeded even their owner’s wildest expectations for the season. But for the sportsbooks of Las Vegas, the Capitals win was something of a relief, at least when it comes to managing finances.

Heading into the season, the Golden Knights were listed as 500/1 long shots to win the Stanley Cup, and as a result, sportsbooks across the city were due to take quite a hit had they pulled off the win. William Hill director of trading Nick Bogdanovich told ESPN’s Ben Fawkes, “The estimates I heard around town of $US5 [million] or $US6 million sounded about right,” adding that it was the biggest liability he’d seen since William Hill U.S. was formed.

As the Golden Knights progressed through the season and proved to be a force in the league, oddsmakers had to find creative ways to hedge against the potential of a Stanley Cup win. Some sportsbooks offered a “field” bet that allowed them to offset some of their risks, but even with the adjustments, a Golden Knights win was still a significant financial liability.

Despite this, many of those running the sportsbooks said they would have traded the financial hit if it meant their newfound team got to raise Lord Stanley’s Cup in their first season. “We root for the house as much as we can, but this is such a unique story,” Bogdanovich said. “I think we have a free waiver on this one.”

Unfortunately for bettors who came so close to a 500/1 payout, the Golden Knights won’t be available at that price again for some time – Las Vegas sportsbooks have already set their odds at paltry 10/1 to win it all next season, tied for the second-best odds in the league.

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