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Bad NFL Call: A $1 Billion Mistake?

Wide receiver Golden Tate #81 of the Seattle Seahawks makes a catch in the end zone to defeat the Green Bay Packers on a controversial call by the officials at CenturyLink Field on September 24, 2012 in Seattle, Washington.
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Wide receiver Golden Tate #81 of the Seattle Seahawks makes a catch in the end zone to defeat the Green Bay Packers on a controversial call by the officials at CenturyLink Field on September 24, 2012 in Seattle, Washington.

On the final play of Monday night's NFL game, a controversial touchdown call changed the game's outcome.

It also reversed the Las Vegas outcome. Instead of the Packers covering the 3.5 point spread, they did not cover.

Sounds like a nuance, but in seconds, most bettors went from winners to losers and losers to winners — with some major money involved.

Some sources say it was a $150-300 million dollar swing. Various Las Vegas sources told CNBC, it was much more than that.

(Read More: For NFL, Does a Blown Call by Referees Really Matter?)

"Everyone says you should multiply Vegas betting by ten to get the overall number," said John Netto, President of Vegas-based Quantitative Sports Strategies. "But it's more like 100 times.

"There probably was a billion dollar swing globally," he said. "That's if you include Nevada, all the bookies across the country and online."

Jay Kornegay, the vice president of race and sports at the Las Vegas Hotel and Casino agrees. "We estimate that just in the state of Nevada, $12-15 million was waged on that game alone."

(Read More: 15 Pro Athletes Turned Entrepreneurs.)

"Nevada is only 1-2 percent of anything waged on a game like that," Kornegay said. "Just do the math."

Is all the action, all the attention good for betting?

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No.

"We never like to see controversy. We want it to be definitive with no questions," added Kornegay. "There is no other way to look at it than a 14-12 game."

The other question: Any chance for refunds?

No, again.

"If we start something like that in Nevada, you are going to open up a giant Pandora's Box," he said.

So, the referee controversy in the NFL isn't just a labor and game story. It's a betting story.

A $1 billion betting story.

Shactman's Sport Stocks:

-Nike

-Under Armour

-The Madison Square Garden Co.

-Manchester United

-Dick's Sporting Goods

-Foot Locker

-Callaway Golf

-Hibbett Sports

-Adidas

-Finish Line

-By CNBC's Brian Shactman
@bshactman

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