he Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Arizona Cardinals 27-23 on a last-minute touchdown for their record sixth Super Bowl title. The amount handled was the lowest since the New England Patriots’ 32-29 win over the Carolina Panthers in 2004, when us$ 81.2 million was wagered. At least us$ 90 million was wagered on each of the previous four Super Bowls, with the Steelers’ 21-10 win over the Seattle Seahawks in 2006 setting the record at us$ 94.5 million.
Last year, sports books lost us$ 2.5 million following the New York Giants’ Super Bowl victory over the Patriots, their first loss on the NFL title game since 1995.
The Cardinals, who were seven-point underdogs to the Steelers, were behind 20-7 before scoring 16 straight fourth- quarter points to take a 23-20 lead. The Steelers rallied with a game-winning touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger to wide receiver Santonio Holmes with 35 seconds remaining, failing to cover the point spread.
Bookmakers in Nevada, the only US state where sports gambling is legal, said gambling on NFL games was down 5 to 7 % during the regular season as the US experienced its worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, according to Jay Rood, race and sports book director at the MGM Mirage in Las Vegas, and Richard Gardner, sports book manager at the gambling Web site Bodog. The sports books do not disclose specific financial statistics from the NFL season.