South Carolina's title victory over Iowa and Clark sets sports-betting records

South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley celebrates after the Final Four college basketball championship game against Iowa in the women's NCAA Tournament, Sunday, April 7, 2024, in Cleveland. South Carolina won 87-75. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A history-making women's college basketball season ended with multiple sportsbooks declaring Sunday's national championship as their most bet-on female sports event.

Red Rock Las Vegas race and sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said the game not only eclipsed handle records but also the number betting tickets that were written on it.

“Game was on the main screen with audio at Red Rock if that puts it into perspective,” Esposito said in a text message. “Unbelievable interest from the viewing and betting public.”

BetMGM vice president of trading Craig Mucklow said this game attracted double the money bet compared to the previous record, which was set Friday when Iowa beat UConn 71-69 in the national semifinals.

Jay Kornegay, Westgate executive vice president of race and sports operations, said South Carolina's 87-75 victory over Iowa to complete a perfect season nearly doubled the Hawkeyes' Elite Eight victory over LSU in terms of money bet.

“It would have been even more if the game was played in prime time,” Kornegay said in a text message.

Sports-betting records were expected to fall in what was a highly anticipated matchup of South Carolina trying to win its third title under coach Dawn Staley against Iowa and two-time AP Player of the Year Caitlin Clark.

Clark's willingness and ability to take 3-pointers seemingly all over the court made her a betting and TV ratings magnet, drawing eyeballs to women's college basketball in record numbers. This was Clark's last game at Iowa. She is the overwhelming favorite to be the No. 1 selection of the WNBA draft by the Indiana Fever.


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