Sports Betting and the Super Bowl

Daniel E Vislocky
Staff Writer

The Super Bowl, annually one of television’s biggest events, has transformed into the premier betting occasion of the year caused by the surge in sports betting. According to the American Gaming Association bets placed on this years Super Bowl could combine to be $23.1 billion, a significant increase from the previous year. A potential reason for this is the Super Bowl, unlike most regular season games, offers some of the most interesting prop bets to hit sports books. Bettors can place wagers on how long the National Anthem will be, outcome of the coin flip, the Gatorade color poured on the coach, and many others that you wouldn’t typically see on an NFL Sunday.

A lot of these prop bets only appear for the Super Bowl because of its popularity and the non-fans it brings in. Most of these prop bets require zero football knowledge and opens sports betting to the average person. A new prop bet being added to some sports books is geared towards new viewers of the NFL, that being how many times Taylor Swift will be shown on the broadcast.

As it currently stands 38 states (plus Puerto Rico and Washington D.C) have a form of legal sports betting. 30 of these states have a legal form of mobile sports betting that can be done anywhere from the stadium to your couch. In addition to all this, each year legislature is pushed in states without legal sports betting to lift the ban and allow some form of the phenomenon. But is it all too much?

The Super Bowl is one of the biggest gambled on events in the year (photo courtesy of CasinosRealMoney)

The federal ban on sports betting was only lifted in 2018 and now only six years later it is legal in more than half the United States. A poll of over 1,500 Americans done by Seton Hall showed that 52% of people believe that sports betting should be legal. However, when the same group was asked if they believe betting is creating a compulsive gambling problem 45% of people agreed. This data shows that public opinion on sports betting is more nuanced and not entirely one sided. Americans want the freedom to choose if they sports bet or not but also understand the consequences that come with it.

The rapid expansion of sports betting can be attributed, in part, to its lucrative economic benefits for states. New Jersey, for instance, has had legal online and in-person sports betting since June 2018. From the moment of legalization to the end of 2023, the Garden State raked in more than $400 million in tax revenue from sports betting alone. That’s equal to $43 dollars from every resident of the state (9.29 million). Our neighbors on our north border, New York, practically doubled our numbers with a whopping $1.4 billion in one less year than New Jersey.

Yet, amidst the financial gains, questions regarding the ethical boundaries of sportsbooks have emerged. The prevalence of betting-related advertisements, particularly during sporting events, has been found to be distasteful by 52% of Americans who were polled. These polls also found that 47% of these people believe that there are simply too many of these advertisements saturating the airwaves, prompting concerns about the normalization of gambling within society.

Overall, the Super Bowl has evolved into more than just a sporting event – it is now a cultural phenomenon deeply connected with the rise of sports betting. As we watch the surge in prop bets

and the convenience of mobile wagering, it’s evident that the Super Bowl captivates audiences far beyond football enthusiasts. In essence it serves as an illustration of the broader conversation surrounding sports betting – a conversation that continues to shape our cultural and legislative narratives. As we celebrate the spirit of competition across the country during this iconic event, it is important to also acknowledge our collective responsibility to approach sports betting with morals and mindfulness.

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