Glendale, AZ - January 31, 2023: State Farm Stadium days before the upcoming American football championship game of the National Football League for the 2022 NFL, Super Bowl LVII

Super Bowl LVIII’s Record-Breaking Number of Bettors Illustrates Benefits and Success of Legalization

Super Bowl LVIII’s Record-Breaking Number of Bettors Illustrates Benefits and Success of Legalization

February 7, 2024

Super Bowl LVIII’s Record-Breaking Number of Bettors Illustrates Benefits and Success of Legalization

By: Jake Gray

In the five or so years since the Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in Murphy v. NCAA, which gave way for state legislatures to legalize sports betting, more than 35 states have done so. Each successive year seems to be a record breaker for the sports betting industry as states continue to legalize and regulate the industry, offering a consumer and state friendly means to wager on sports. This year’s Super Bowl is no different and it highlights the need for continued legalization and regulation.

In a survey published by the American Gaming Association, a record 68 million Americans—a 26% increase from last year—are expected to bet $23.1 billion on Super Bowl LVIII between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs. That handle far surpasses last year’s estimates of $16 billion, a 35% increase.

The primacy of online and mobile sports betting platforms continues to make itself apparent, as a plurality of Americans will bet on the game this way—at 46%. Just behind online and mobile options are casual bets among friends, as has been historically common for the Super Bowl, long before the prohibition and legalization of sports betting.

Importantly, though, 28.7 million adults will place their Super Bowl bets using a legalized U.S. sportsbook, more than 65% of the 42.7 million who plan to place online wagers in general. The overall increase in adults placing sports bets evinces the extent to which customers increasingly demand legal and safe avenues for sports betting—the more states that offer sports betting, the higher the total number of adults placing bets climbs. Indeed, the total number of individuals placing online wagers for the Super Bowl increased by 41% from last year.

More can be done, however, as 35% of bettors still plan to use illegal, off-shore bookies, which is, no doubt, in part because a third of the American adult population has no legal platforms available to them in their resident state.

In any case, we should expect more states to legalize and regulate the industry until it is practically ubiquitous across the United States. As more and more states regulate the sports betting industry, the more the uninitiated forgo similar benefits to their state revenues in the form of taxes and the longer they leave their constituents vulnerable to the off-shore industry, which provides no consumer protections or responsible gaming safety measures. The pressure to conform to the status quo only increases as time goes on for the simple fact that consumer demand will too. As such, we can expect that, at least for the next 5 years, each successive Super Bowl will overcome its predecessor in number of individuals placing bets and total handle.

Responsible gaming practices also increasingly come into focus with the increased legalization and regulation of sports betting. 75% of traditional sports bettors report seeing a responsible gaming message in the last year, a 4% increase from 2023, and 47% of all American adults report seeing such a message in the past year as well, a 7% increase from 2023. This illustrates that the benefits of legalization and regulation—to prevent stymy problem gambling among the populations—are being extended to more individuals across the United States.

The American Gaming Association’s report provides us critical insight into the efficacy of and demand for a broad regulated sports betting market in the United States, one in which consumers and their resident jurisdictions are protected and benefited to the detriment of the illegal, off-shore industry. And it is safe to assume that each successive football season will further bolster this insight every year.

Jake Gray

Jake Gray

Jake Gray is a graduate of Columbia University and an established technology researcher, currently working in the betting and futures space as a consultant to a variety of operators. He frequently writes about online gaming and sports betting laws.

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