Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Friday, July 12, 2013 | 10:55 a.m.
Last weekend’s UFC 162 set a mixed martial arts handle record at William Hill sports books with gamblers combining to wager more than six figures alone on the main event between Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman.
William Hill spokesman Jimmy Vacarro said his company’s books — which are at 100 locations across the state — profited between 15 and 18-percent on the card.
“I can only imagine what the MGM (which hosted the event) did. I was astounded by the amount of interest in that fight,” Vacarro said. “Not one (handicapper) came in looking to bet 10, 20 or 30 thousand. It was ticket after ticket. Even in Northern Nevada, the ticket count was good there.”
Vacarro credits the marketing-machine at the UFC for making their fighters more known, which indirectly creates interest with handicappers.
“Those fighters are plastered everywhere. The UFC has done a wonderful job promoting their product,” he said. “That was just a monster handle for the state of Nevada.”
Vacarro, who has more than three decades experience in the handicapping industry, was skeptical a few years back as to whether or not mixed martial arts would become popular with gamblers. His opinion has changed — and not just because of last week’s card with Silva, one of the organization’s all-time greats.
“We (oddsmakers) are getting a better feel for it,” Vacarro said. “The (betting) numbers are solid.”