VIDEO VAULT: Las Vegas always the place to be for the Big Game

Paying Out Tickets

The stage is now set for the Big Game this Sunday, with the Philadelphia Eagles taking on the New England Patriots at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

30 years ago, on January 31, 1988, it was the Broncos versus the Redskins at Jack Murphy Stadium San Diego. But forget about the domed arena to the north now or the sun-kissed stadium to the west then. The best place to watch the game is always here.

"When it comes to throwing a Super Bowl party, no one does it like Vegas," Deborah Brada reported on January 27, 1988.

Take the Hilton VIP party.

News 3 reporters spread out across the city covering the story, starting with the fans.

"Who's gonna win the game?" asked News 3's Dan Burns.

"Redskins," said a man parked in a chair at the Stardust Sportsbook.

"I know the Broncos are gonna win," responded his friend one seat over.

Food was also a go-to story angle.

"There's about 3,000 hamburgers, 3,000 hot dogs and this is my favorite case," said Brada, dressed in a chef's hat and opening a refrigerator. "Onion rings and French fries. I would say there are about 150 pounds of each in here. In all, there's enough food for 3,000 people."

"This type of fan, you know they eat hot dogs, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, nachos," noted the Hilton's Chef Eddie Anderson. "It's just your party favor type food."

"So what would the Super Bowl be without hotdogs and peanuts and beer?" Brada asked rhetorically.

"It wouldn't be a Super Bowl at all," answered Anderson.

And of course, in 1988 just as today, there were stories about "prop" bets.

"If you look around, you can find all sorts of proposition bets on the Super Bowl," explained Burns. "Things like who's going to punt first. Who will make the third first down? Or even who will win the coin toss."

But the most important bet is on the game itself.

"I think Washington will win," one fan told Burns.

"The Mile High City," countered the next guy.

"Oh Washington, of course."


When it was all finally over, those who bet on the Redskins ended up happy, with Washington winning in a 42-10 rout following a shaky start.

"Super Bowl XXII was expected to generate some $50 million in bets here in Southern Nevada alone," reported Rick Kirkham the following day. "For some reason though, it didn't. But still, local sportsbooks came out OK anyway. It seems the majority of local bettors went for the Broncos. And therefore, sportsbook profits managed to equal last year's take-in."

There were some large bets, but most people put up just enough to make it interesting.

"I collected a couple of hundred," said one man leaving the payout window.

"Enough to carry you through the week," prompted Kirkham.

"That's it," came the response with a laugh.

The total amount bet on the event—the “Handle” in gambling parlance—was $35 million. Compare that to a record $138.5 million last year.

Whether that number will be surpassed in 2018 will be decided this Sunday, with the game airing live on Channel 3.

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