On Sundays during football season, the NFL dominates Las Vegas sports books.
However, USC’s victory over Utah the night before continued to reverberate on the Strip and beyond.
The game ended with USC apparently winning, 17-14, and failing to cover the 8½-point spread.
But two hours after time expired at the Coliseum, the Pacific 12 Conference determined that there had been a miscommunication between field officials and the official scorer in the press box and that USC should have been credited with a game-ending touchdown, making the score 23-14.
Sports books and bettors were left in confusion.
“Vegas is split on this,” said Jay Kornegay, the Las Vegas Hilton’s race and sports book director. “It’s all up to the house rules, and even how you interpret those rules.”
In the Hilton’s case, winning bets are determined the day of the event, but bet tickets disclaim the hotel will not recognize overturned scores.
“So, basically, it says both,” Kornegay said. “We decided to go with the corrected score.”
After paying off Utah winners before the score was changed, Kornegay said, “we obviously paid off the lion’s share of winning tickets” based on total bets made on the game.
Kornegay estimated that the game generated from $50,000 to $100,000 in bets at each of the major sports books in Nevada.
“It’s a bad result for every bookmaker in this city, paying both sides,” he said.
A race and sports book supervisor told The Times late Saturday that MGM Resorts would pay off “winning” USC bets. But that policy was never implemented, said Jay Rood, race and sports book director for MGM Resorts.
“We stuck with the original score of 17-14,” Rood said. “Our house rules are we don’t recognize overturned games. An overturn is an overturn. This game ended 17-14, the lights went out and everyone went home.”
Angry bettors expressed their outrage at the MGM windows.
“I can understand this from the bettors’ standpoint, their confusion about the disparity of rules within the industry,” Rood said. “You’re bound by your house rules. We could’ve paid off [USC bettors], but what if it happens again next week? We don’t want to establish that precedent.
“And if we wait to make sure the score’s not changed, more people would be upset with us for not paying when the final score posts. Do you want to have to wait 24 hours to collect? So it comes down to, what rules can you live with?”