Super Bowl Problem Gambling, Responsible Betting Best Practices

Written By Eli Hershkovich on February 11, 2022
super bowl problem gambling

An estimated $7.61 billion is expected to be wagered on Super Bowl LVI, according to survey results released by the American Gaming Association (AGA) on Tuesday. With so much money being bet, cases of Super Bowl problem gambling will inevitably pop up too.

$7.61 billion would represent the largest total handle of any game, in which an estimated 31.4 million American adults are projected to participate in Super Bowl betting. The NFL partnered with the National Council on Problem Gambling in October 2021 for the sole purpose of providing financial support to prevent gambling addiction.

Let’s hit on how all bettors can stay away from this type of behavior before and during the Super Bowl — with help from the NCPG and Circa Sports operations manager Jeffrey Benson.

Avoiding Reckless Habits

For Keith Whyte — the executive director of the NCPG — one of the most common triggers of sports betting addiction is driven by the sportsbooks themselves. The message is blasted all over social media, “User bets $2.66 and WINS $50,000 on a same game parlay,” as if those bets cash instantaneously and frequently.

Take the correct score parlay of the AFC and NFC Championship games that was promoted on Twitter on Jan. 30. Congratulations to the user who won this wager, but it sends out a signal to novice bettors that winning these tickets isn’t as difficult as it seems. Nevertheless, it can send a bettor spiraling out of control if it loses.

Super Bowl Betting

Whyte noted that numerous calls into the National Problem Gambling Helpline stem from bettors chasing their losses. Whether it’s a hefty Super Bowl wager in attempt to offset their shattered bank accounts or live bets throughout the game, he believes sportsbooks needs to be held accountable for how they represent their product to consumers.

“Advertising should not be misleading about outcomes of gambling or misrepresent the odds of winning or losing,” Whyte said.

Mastering Hold Percentage

Jeffery Benson, sportsbook operations manager at Circa Sports, expressed that bettors should comprehend the true likelihood of an outcome — as opposed to solely the odds that the sportbook is offering them. That way, they’re less likely to fall into a trap in the first place.

“Obviously, there’s a reason why some sportsbooks are promoting these kind of things, given the high theoretical hold that you’re going to see on these correlated markets,” Benson said. “It’s not something that we (Circa Sports) currently offer (same game parlays).”

“When you look at these markets, I think it’s important for the consumer to understand that when they’re betting into a side or a total on the Super Bowl, and understanding that the hold percentage (on those markets) is less than 5.0% as opposed to betting into some of these same game parlays where the hold can be north of 20.0%.”

So why is the hold percentage critical for the Super Bowl and other major sporting events that beginner bettors are drawn to? It boils down to acquiring the best possible odds, which can help lead to making practical decisions.

“If you go to the local grocery store, you don’t want to pay more for apples at this grocery store than you would be paying somewhere else, and that’s very similar to sports betting,” Benson said. “You don’t want to be laying 6 (points) when you can ultimately be laying 5.5 (points), and you don’t want to be betting into future pools with a 30.0% hold when you could be betting into ones with, say, a 20.0% hold.”

Avoiding Super Bowl Problem Gambling

Before placing wagers on the main event, Whyte suggests to utilize the responsible gambling features — found on sportsbooks in the account settings.

From there, set a limit on the amount you bet and the time spent on the app itself. That way, users aren’t swept away from the emotional rollercoaster of the game.

Think You May Have A Gambling Problem?

If you or anyone you know is struggling with a gambling addiction, the National Problem Gambling Helpline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-522-4700.

You can also visit If you’re worried you may have a gambling problem but aren’t sure how serious it is, the National Council on Problem Gambling has a 10-question quiz you can take to assess your situation.

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Written by
Eli Hershkovich

Eli Hershkovich is a lead sports betting writer with TheLines and Catena Media, formerly with Audacy and The Action Network. His goal is to provide you with data and information to lead you to winning bets. Eli is an avid college basketball gambler — among many other sports — and still hasn't forgiven Virginia for ruining his 2018-2019 Texas Tech futures.

View all posts by Eli Hershkovich