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December 20, 2014

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With NFL lockout over, sports book officials can now prepare for season

Win total numbers could be posted as early as Tuesday

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The sports book at Wynn Las Vegas is shown Wednesday, May 4, 2011.

The NFL lockout ended Monday with the owners and players agreeing on a new labor deal, giving Las Vegas sports book directors the green light to move forward in posting odds on season win totals and preseason games, and finalizing terms for handicapping contests.

Betting the NFL is a multimillion-dollar business in Nevada, making today’s news a welcome relief for gamblers and casinos alike.

“We were in a wait-and-see mode,” said Jay Rood, sports book director for MGM Resorts. “We knew something was going to happen. (The NFL) is just too big to fail. It’s amazing how much is invested in our culture on these games. There was an enormous amount of pressure on both sides to get it done.”

Rood was working Monday on finalizing season win-total odds. He expects those to be posted Tuesday. Last year, those numbers were posted in late June, bringing in seven-figures worth of wagers. Despite the delay caused by the lockout, he anticipates the same amount wagered this year.

“There won’t be much of an impact. It will be business as usual,” he said.

Several sports books have already taken action on Super Bowl future odds, with those numbers posted in February. There was a disclaimer saying money would be refunded if the season was canceled.

Free agency will alter season win-total and future bets, but not to the point where it will detour books from posting them, said Jimmy Vaccaro, head of book-making operations for Lucky’s Race & Sports Books and one of Nevada’s most respected odds makers.

“Nobody will go to a team and drastically change the odds,” Vaccaro said. “It’s not like LeBron James going to the Miami Heat. They went from 40-1 to win the title to 7-2. I don’t think Peyton Manning or Tom Brady are going to another team.”

Now that officials know the season will be played in its entirety, they can also move forward with planning handicapping contests and other promotions. Getting parlay cards printed and booking staff for the weekends are back on their list of priorities.

“We are relieved that we can at least move forward in our planning,” Vaccaro said.

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