As typical with this time of year, Super Bowl storylines abound ahead of the Big Game.
Among them: Two storied franchises prepare to square off in Super Bowl LIV in Miami. One, the San Francisco 49ers, boasts the winningest record among teams that have appeared in the championship game at least three times. The other, the Kansas City Chiefs, stands as the NFL dynasty heir apparent and will play in its first Super Bowl in 50 years.
Beyond the gridiron, this Super Bowl will no doubt draw the most interest from legalized sports betting the world has ever seen. And the American Gaming Association (AGA) is betting on it.
Super Bowl betting spikes public interest
As detailed in a media call on Jan. 27, the AGA estimates some 26 million American adults will wager (legally or otherwise) on Super Bowl LIV. As a result, Super Bowl betting will generate a whopping $6.8 billion, according to AGA projections.
“With 14 operational markets and another seven close behind,” said AGA President and CEO Bill Miller, “Americans have never before had so many opportunities to wager on the Super Bowl in a safe and legal manner, and clearly, they are getting in on the action.
“With increased visitation to legal sportsbooks, we are successfully drawing bettors away from the predatory illegal market.”
According to the AGA survey, conducted by Morning Consult, nearly 4 million Americans will visit a retail sportsbook to bet on the Super Bowl. Roughly 5 million adults will lay money down via legal online sportsbooks or illegal offshore books. And surely millions more will participate in office or party pools or even call up their local bookies.
Compared to 2019, the AGA calculates a 25% increase in public visitation to legal retail sportsbooks, as well as a 19% spike in betting via online platforms.
“Truly, Americans have never been more interested in wagering on the Super Bowl,” Miller said, adding that leagues will more than benefit from increased fan engagement and additional revenue streams. “When Americans have skin in the game, it’s clear they’re more likely to tune in.”
Legal sports betting continues to expand
Hard to believe the US Supreme Court repealed PASPA almost two years ago. Since then, states have taken full advantage of legalizing sports betting.
Currently, 14 states boast regulated and operational wagering industries. That includes eight states with online sportsbooks.
While mentioned in the survey, offshore books do not seem to frighten Miller. They never have. The growth of legalized sports betting seemingly has the AGA CEO convinced that those illegal platforms will die out soon enough.
“What makes this year’s Super Bowl remarkable is that more fans than ever before will have the reassurance that the integrity of their bets on the big game will be preserved,” Miller said.
“The continued expansion of legal sports betting — to the detriment of the illegal market — truly benefits all stakeholders, from enhanced fan engagement for teams to added tax revenue for state and local economies.”
Miller believes legalized sports betting will operate in “as many as 30 jurisdictions” by next year. To boot, partnerships between sports leagues/stadiums/teams and gaming companies, which more than doubled in 2019 to 70, could reach into triple figures next year.
“A month into the new year,” Miller said, “there’s no sign that this rapid pace will slow down.”
Looking back on Super Bowl LIII estimates
A year ago, the AGA released the results of a similar survey leading up to Super Bowl LIII.
The organization projected some 22.7 million adults betting an estimated $6 billion on the Big Game. At the time, eight states featured operational sports betting industries.
“It was an unprecedented year for legal sports betting,” Miller said, pointing out that this growth has not come at the expense of the Nevada market. “Instead, legal sports betting is having its intended consequence in taking away business from illegal sportsbooks.”
Funny enough, this time last year, Miller noted “the continued viability of the dangerous, illegal sports betting market in America.”
The AGA CEO is not as concerned anymore.
“What we’ve been encouraged by is the amount of legal bets that have been placed since PASPA was repealed,” Miller said. “We’re beginning a migration of those consumers from the illegal market to a safe and regulated market.”
Miller later added:
“The demand for and the performance of sports betting in 2019 is validation that we’re gaining traction.”
DraftKings releases similar sports betting findings
Along the same lines, DraftKings revealed the results of a similar study it commissioned, titled “Football & Fandom: The Bet Effect on the Big Game.” Owner of the ever-popular DraftKings Sportsbook, the company’s national study found that 82% of the public is interested in placing a legal wager on Super Bowl LIV.
As 31% of American adults have patronized legal sportsbooks already, it should come as no surprise that they would be more engaged not only with these operators but also with the Big Game.
According to DraftKings’ study, some 78% of the public will be more likely to watch the entire Super Bowl this year if they place a bet. In fact, the study revealed that 61% of adults would watch more commercials if they lay wagers.
The NFL has already led to increased business for sportsbooks, obviously. DraftKings noted that the league draws 75% more interest than any other sport. During the playoffs alone, almost 70% of fans preferred betting on football.