Chips, Dips, Bets: More Americans Than Ever Are Hungry To Bet This Year’s Super Bowl

Posted on January 30, 2020

Super Bowl LIV should produce more offensive firepower than last year’s snooze fest. The San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs ranked second and fifth respectively for total points scored during the regular season.

Expect more action off the field, too, thanks to the growth of legalized sports betting. Today, thirteen states offer sports betting, up from seven during last year’s Super Bowl.

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A record 26 million, or one in 10 American adults, will wager an estimated $6.8 billion on Super Bowl LIV, a recent survey from the American Gaming Association (AGA) revealed.

Bill Miller, president and CEO of the AGA commented:

“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. 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.”

Bettors and bucks add up in the Big Game

Even if Roman numerals are confusing, some numbers are easy to add up. Three million more Americans from last year will wager on the Super Bowl. The increase is largely due to the legalization and mobile-friendly nature of sports betting. However, Miller presented another theory for the spike.

“Sometimes there is betting fatigue around some of the teams that are in the Super Bowl all the time. People who run sportsbooks have articulated the same. These are both exciting teams and I think the narrative makes it a more appealing dynamic for bettors instead of the more traditional participants.”

The New England Patriots have been in four of the last five Super Bowls. Super Bowl LIV marks the Chiefs’ first trip in 50 years. The 49ers were last in the game in 2013

Other key figures from the survey conducted by Morning Consult included:

  • Four million people will place a bet at a retail sportsbook, 25% more than last year.
  • Five million people will wager online or on their phone, either through a licensed, legal operator or an illegal offshore book.
  • Millions of others bet with a bookie, a pool or squares contest, or with friends and family.
  • Of the survey participants, 52% say they will bet on the Chiefs, 48% on the 49ers.
  • AGA research indicates 75% of NFL bettors say they are more likely to watch a game they have money on. Also, sports bettors are more interested in the NFL than any other professional sports league.

Regulated sportsbooks must rival offshore books

The AGA’s Jan. 28 press conference covered a wide range of topics such as Super Bowl LIV betting projections, the future of U.S. sports betting, and the impact of legal sports betting on illegal offshore books.

“I have absolute confidence that Americans didn’t start betting on sports when the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was overturned,” said Miller. He acknowledged that people are still betting with bookies and at offshore sportsbooks. But with increased visitation to legal sportsbooks, they are being drawn away from the illegal market.

AGA research shows many people aren’t even aware they are betting on illegal websites. Miller says a key factor to pull players from illegal options is to offer similar types of opportunities via regulated channels.

“If the tax rate is too high it’s going to be difficult to migrate the consumer from the illegal market to the legal market.”

PA online sportsbooks, in particular, face this large hurdle.

Tax rate in PA an issue, but perhaps surmountable

Pennsylvania hit sports betting operators with a $10 million licensing fee and 36% tax rate. PA’s sports betting tax rate is five times the rate in Nevada and four times the rate in neighboring New Jersey.

Miller commented on Pennsylvania’s sports betting landscape:

“The AGA was vocal with regard to the tax rate in PA and said many times if you are trying to migrate customers from the illegal marketplace to the legal marketplace it should be for the consumer, a situation where if they win, the look and feel of the win should be similar to what they are used to. We want to make sure the odds that are being provided at the tax rate are not impaired. We want to create a dynamic that allows for that migration.”

Miller pointed out positives in the Commonwealth like its large population, number of sports teams and active fan base.

“I’m excited Pennsylvania is up and running and believe there will be future successes.”

Katie Kohler Avatar
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Katie Kohler

Katie Kohler is a Philadelphia-area based award-winning journalist. She covers the Pennsylvania gambling industry with an emphasis on sports betting, online casino/poker and the lottery.

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