Underneath more than a dozen flat-screen TVs, there are 38 red, white and blue betting kiosks lining the walls of the sportsbook at Riverwalk Casino in Vicksburg, Mississippi. On March 8, what may be the greatest parlay wager ever to hit at a U.S. sportsbook was placed on one of them -- a $25, 20-leg bet that paid $104,412.44.
BetAmerica, the sportsbook operator for Riverwalk, said the parlay resulted in its largest payout since the book opened in August. Through the sportsbook, the bettor asked not to be identified.
The parlay featured point spreads, money lines and over/unders on a mix of Friday night NBA and college basketball games. The bettor backed 14 favorites, three underdogs and three overs. They all came through, but there were some close calls.
Their biggest sweat may have come in the first game listed on their ticket: Washington Wizards at Charlotte Hornets. The bettor took the favored Hornets to win straight-up at -200 odds. Washington guard Bradley Beal missed a potential go-ahead, contested layup with 3.6 seconds to play, and the Hornets held on for a 112-111 victory.
The ticket stayed alive when the Dallas Mavericks outscored the Orlando Magic 33-19 in the fourth quarter to cover a 6.5-point spread in a 111-106 loss and was completed with the Los Angeles Clippers' 118-110 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder in the final NBA game of the night.
BetAmerica vice president Alan Stremel said 20-leg parlays have been placed, but this was the first one to hit.
"We know players are excited about it, and the [Mississippi] market has been interested in parlays," Stremel told ESPN. "People like the potential payouts when putting it all together."
Traditionally, 20-leg parlays have not been a regular offering at Nevada sportsbooks, and multiple veteran Las Vegas bookmakers and bettors struggled to recall any parlay with that many selections ever cashing.
"I've heard of 15 [legs], but not 20, not with us," Bill Sattler, director of specialty game for Caesars Entertainment and a 30-plus-year Vegas veteran, said. "Welcome to the business."
It was costly start to the month for the Riverwalk, one of the new legal sportsbooks to open in Mississippi over the last year. In January, the five casinos with sportsbooks located in Mississippi's "central region," which includes Riverwalk, combined to win a net $457,000. The Riverwalk Casino lost nearly a quarter of that just as its first March Madness was tipping off.
"We look forward to the rest of the action," Stremel said.