U.S. sports bettors are expected to wager more than $23 billion on Super Bowl betting in Sunday’s Super Bowl 58, pitting the Kansas City Chiefs against the San Francisco 49ers. That’s according to survey results released Tuesday by the American Gaming Association. But not all experts agree on that number.
Morning Consult conducted the annual poll for the D.C.-based trade group, contacting more than 2,200 American adults. Based on the findings (survey conducted Jan. 30 through Feb. 1), the AGA estimates that nearly 68 million people – or 26% of the adult population – will bet on the game in some fashion. That includes 42.7 million who plan to bet through legal online sports betting operators, licensed brick-and-mortar sportsbooks, unregulated offshore outlets or illegal bookmakers. That works out to an average of almost $340 per bettor.
The AGA survey also forecasts that 28.7 million will bet online through a licensed operator. For this year’s NFL championship, 38 states and the District of Columbia have legalized sports betting to some extent. Of those, 29 states and D.C. permit online wagering via mobile sports betting apps. New states this year include Kentucky, Vermont and Florida. Massachusetts online apps will be available for this year’s game after the state only had brick-and-mortar sportsbooks open in time last year.
“Our priority remains getting this opportunity right by providing the consumer protections only a regulated market can guarantee and investing in responsible gambling tools, safeguards and education,” AGA President and CEO Bill Miller said in a statement.
Last year, the AGA forecasted $16 billion would be wagered by more than 50 million people. The predictions have skyrocketed annually as the number of legal sports betting states have increased. Two years ago, the trade group’s survey estimated 31.4 million people would bet $7.6 billion.
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Taylor Swift Impact On Game (And Super Bowl Betting)
In addition to folks going to online NFL betting sites, or physical casinos, many fans and casual observers will also bet casually on the game. That could come in the form of direct bets with their friends or jackpots such as squares contests set up by coworkers, friends, or organizations. The AGA predicts 36.5 million people will wager that way this year.
The Super Bowl is typically considered the biggest sporting event in the U.S., with a record 115 million people watching last year’s game, when the Chiefs defeated the Philadelphia Eagles. Viewership for Sunday’s game could exceed that thanks to the attention given to the relationship between pop superstar Taylor Swift and Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (who has +1200 odds at Caesars Sportsbook to be named game MVP). Swift is expected to fly in after putting on a concert in Japan to attend the game at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
Chris Grove, a partner emeritus at Eilers & Krecjik and a long-time industry executive and investor, said Tuesday in a post on X (formerly known as Twitter) that increased viewership will lead to more people wagering, and Swift will deliver more viewers.
“I’d expect this impact to hit more on customer acquisition numbers vs driving a material increase in revenue,” he said.
Eilers & Krecjik also released its forecast for the big game. The research firm estimates the handle for America’s legal markets will be $1.25 billion. The AGA release did not break down legal vs. illegal handle but it’s safe to assume that the Eilers & Krecjik estimate is pretty far from the AGA projection. Nevada, the host state for the Super Bowl and where sports betting has been legal for decades, is again expected to be the top state, with an estimated handle of $160.4 million for the Super Bowl. New York is a close second, with wagering projected to top $155 million.
The E&K report stated that up to a quarter of the bets placed through legal sportsbooks will likely be same-game parlays, and 15% of the wagers are expected to be made during the game.
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Super Bowl Odds: Niners Favored Over Champs
Oddsmakers predict the game between the defending champions and the 49ers will be tight. DraftKings Sportsbook lists San Francisco as a 2-point favorite with -105 odds as of Tuesday afternoon, meaning the Chiefs getting the points have odds of -115. Bettors at DraftKings are backing the Chiefs by a nearly 4-to-1 margin in terms of spread wagers placed.
The AGA survey found 47% of respondents are planning to bet on the Chiefs and 44% on the 49ers.
Oddsmakers have the line set at 2.5 points with the same odds for the two teams at FanDuel Sportsbook. Both operators also have the total points set at 47.5.
Besides the traditional game markets, the Super Bowl offers numerous prop betting opportunities, though those markets will vary by state. Not all legalized sports betting states allow sportsbooks to offer odds on outcomes like the coin toss to start the game.
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Steve is an accomplished, award-winning communicator with over 20 years of experience in journalism, public relations/public affairs, marketing, and business development. He currently covers a diverse set of beats for several publications focusing on legislation, litigation, government regulation, and oversight. This includes commercial and tribal gaming, commercial fishing, and state and local government reporting.