Super Bowl LV set to attract more than $500m in legal wagers

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US bettors will place more than $500m in wagers on Super Bowl LV at legal online and retail sportsbooks across 21 US jurisdictions where sports betting in some form is legal, according to projections by PlayUSA.

Whether those projections are met or surpassed, the matchup between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, February 7, will almost certainly become the most legally wagered-on single event in US history it said.

“With the expansion of legal sports betting over the last year, both in terms of new markets and growth within existing markets, a historic weekend is inevitable,” said Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for PlayUSA.com. “Half a billion dollars or more bet on one game seems almost unfathomable, but considering the direction of the US market, that handle is easily within reach.”

With 20 states and Washington DC representing a population of about 120 million, now offering some form of legal sports betting, a year-over-year jump is certain. Last year 14 states, representing a population of 70 million, allowed for legal Super Bowl bets. Those 14 states combined for an estimated Super Bowl handle of $300m, according to PlayUSA.

The Super Bowl is always the most bet-on single sporting event in the US. In 2020, the American Gaming Association estimated that $6.8bn was bet in the US, both legally and illegally.

For this year’s game sports betting is legal in at least some form in Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington DC and West Virginia.

A boost should also come from two of the most populous legal states, Michigan and Virginia, which launched online sports betting just last week.

Illinois, Colorado, and Tennessee did not offer any form of legal sports betting for last year’s Super Bowl. Together they represent three of the seven largest legal sports betting markets currently operating in the US. Michigan is also expected to quickly join the upper tier of US markets.

Nevada, the second-largest market in the US, is expected to lead all US markets with $125m in bets on the big game, according to PlayUSA projections. No. 1 New Jersey, which is less event-driven than Nevada, is expected to take in $75m in Super Bowl wagers.

“The potential this year is enormous compared to last year, with legal sports betting available to 50 million more people than last year’s Super Bowl,” said Eric Ramsey, analyst for PlayUSA. “The US market has changed so much over the last year. Not only has it nearly doubled in size, but bettors now make a higher percentage of their bets online compared with a year ago. And sportsbooks will utilize the Super Bowl to aggressively promote themselves to new customers, especially in fledgling markets like Michigan and Virginia.”

The Mahomes-led Chiefs are consensus 3-point favorites over the Brady-led Bucs, with an over/under that could surpass the Super Bowl record of 57 points by kickoff. Prop bets and in-game wagering will also add significantly to the handle, especially as bettors have become more accustomed to betting via mobile apps.

Already books are offering prop bets, including who will be the first player to score, who will win the coin toss, and the over/under on how many players will throw a pass during the game.

“It’s an intriguing matchup with two of the biggest names in the sport, Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady, facing off, and that should help compensate for both teams being from relatively small markets,” Gouker said. “With the expansion of the sports betting market, it is close to a certain win for the industry, with the potential to reach more customers than ever before.”

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