Posted By Marc Meltzer on January 28, 2020 - Last Updated on February 21, 2020
The Super Bowl is the most popular sporting event of the year. Millions of people watch the Big Game on TV and plenty of people wager on it, legally and illegally.
This year, the American Gaming Association (AGA) estimates Americans will wager approximately $6.8 billion on Super Bowl 54 between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers.
A survey from the AGA shows that 3 million more Americans will wager on this year’s Super Bowl than last year. Overall, the AGA estimates that 26 million Americans will wager on the Super Bowl.
Close to 4 million will place a bet in person at a retail sportsbook, according to the survey. That’s a 25 percent increase from last year. Online betting continues to be a popular way to bet on sports — both legally and illegally. The AGA says that there nearly 5 million people will place a bet on the Super Bowl through an online or mobile platform. That’s a 19% increase from online bets on the Big Game in 2019.
This year, more states than ever will take legal sports wagers on the Super Bowl. In addition to gambling on the Super Bowl in Nevada, sports fans can legally wager on the Super Bowl in the following US states:
More money is legally wagered on the Super Bowl than ever before in the US and expansion outside of Nevada is still just getting started. This should continue to see wagerings on the Big Game increase as more states legalize sports gambling. That’s a story to be told next year.
DraftKings surveyed 1,000 sports fans and there’s plenty of interest in sports betting around the country.
Super Bowl Betting In New Jersey
This will be the second year that New Jersey takes wagers on the Super Bowl. According to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, sportsbooks in the Garden State had a $4.5 million loss on Super Bowl betting last year. The small loss came as NJ bettors wagered a total of $34,894,900 on the Big Game.
According to Legal Sports Report, FanDuel Sportsbook lost $5 million between cash bets and free promotional bets offered. DraftKings Sportsbook also had a losing Super Bowl in New Jersey last year. The online sportsbook lost more than $1 million.
Both sportsbook companies suffered a loss, in part, because of regional bias. Bettors on the New England Patriots flooded New Jersey with legal sports bets. The 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams easily covered the 2.5 point spread.
Both companies should see different results since each is taking sports bets in multiple states. Neither will see the same kind of regional bias as 2019.
Super Bowl betting still huge in Nevada
The handle for Nevada sportsbooks for the Super Bowl in 2019 was $146 million. While that’s a large number, it fell short of the $158 million in handle on the Super Bowl in 2018.
Nevada sportsbooks won more money in 2019 despite the nearly 8% dip in the overall amount of money wagered on the Big Game. In 2018, Nevada sportsbooks won only $1,170,432 million. That’s less than 1% of all wagers. In 2019, Nevada sportsbooks won 7.4% of the wagers on the Super Bowl. That was good for a total win of $10,780,319.
Some years have been more profitable than others for Nevada sportsbooks. Sportsbooks in the Silver State have only lost money on two Super Bowls since 1991. The most recent losing Super Bowl for Nevada sportsbooks was 2008 when the New York Giants defeated the New England Patriots 17-14.
Betting on the Super Bowl has changed a lot in Nevada over the years. Many wagers on regular season NFL games are on the point spread or over/under total. Wagering on the Big Game is quite different. Prop bets account for approximately half of wagers on the Super Bowl.
Betting on the Super Bowl
Betting on the Super Bowl is more than just point spread, moneyline, and over/under. While half of the money wagered in Nevada for the Big Game is on team and player prop bets new customers might be looking for even more options.
In the DraftKings survey, the company saw that bettors are interested in other ways to gamble on the Super Bowl:
DraftKings and some other sportsbook operators in the US offer all four of these wagering options for the Super Bowl. Look for betting on the Big Game to evolve as new customer preferences emerge.
The upside of legal Super Bowl betting
There has been a lot of money spent gambling in the US on the Super Bowl. The vast majority of gambling on the Big Game in the US has been illegal. That’s continuing to change as more states legalize sports betting.
The legalization of sports betting in the US means there should be an overall increase in taxable dollars wagered at legal sportsbooks this year. This should continue to increase as there are still states planning to legalize retail and online sports betting.
Marc Meltzer grew up on the mean streets of the South Bronx. He's the rare combination of Yankees and Jets fan which explains his often contrarian point of view. Marc is a freelance writer and social media consultant. Writing about steak, booze, gambling and Las Vegas is a tough job but somebody has to do it.