Bittersweet relief for Vegas bookies who avoided Cup payouts on Golden Knights

Ethan Miller / Getty Images Sport / Getty

With Vegas sportsbooks setting the Golden Knights' odds of winning the Stanley Cup as high as 500-1 last year, big-time payouts appeared to be on the horizon for people who bet on the expansion club.

But the Golden Knights ultimately fell to the Washington Capitals, who won the series 4-1 on Thursday night.

In hopes of minimizing liability, sportsbooks adjusted their odds midseason, and during the playoffs, motivated bettors to put their dollars down on Vegas' opponents. Many also offered partial payouts during the postseason and ahead of the Stanley Cup Final.

"This wasn't my biggest liability, but it was pretty significant," Wynn executive director of race and sports John Avello told ESPN's Ben Fawkes.

The Stanley Cup Final wrapped the NHL's first full season in Sin City - a year in which the Nevada Gaming Control Board reported a 36 percent uptick in the category of bets that includes hockey.

Would it really have been so bad if the hometown team had won it all?

"I was rooting for the town," Avello admitted. "We've taken hits before. If I was going to pay off on something, I (would've been) glad to pay off on the Knights. They've been the talk of the town."

All the sportsbook directors Fawkes spoke to agreed.

"We root for the house as much as we can, but this is such a unique story," said Nick Bogdanovich, William Hill director of trading. "I think we have a free waiver on this one."

Bittersweet relief for Vegas bookies who avoided Cup payouts on Golden Knights
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