(NewsNation Now) — For years, placing a Super Bowl bet meant finding your local bookie and slipping him an envelope of cash in exchange for a slip proving that you’d funded your bet, then finding him after the game to collect your winnings, all in the hopes that you wouldn’t attract the attention of local law enforcement.
Now, with sports gambling legal in many states across the country, betting windows are open and the bets are flying in. The driver behind this was the pandemic and the bonanza of tax revenue that many states found appealing from legalized sports betting.
With Super Bowl LVI just days away, Americans are studying the lines and placing their bets, largely affecting the way Las Vegas and oddsmakers do business. While Sin City may be the original home of sports betting, these days you can place your bets without even leaving your couch in many states.
“It’s a whole new age for sports betting,” said John Murray, executive director of Westgate Sportsbook. “I don’t understand why every state isn’t online right now. You can regulate the bets. You can get tax revenue. And people are going to bet anyway.”
Casino bosses, sports bookies and economic analysts all echo Brian Gordon, principal, Applied Analysis: “The legalization of sports betting across the United States has taken off like wildfire.”
A total of 33 states plus Washington, D.C. have legalized sports betting. It became legal in January in New York, for example, where within the first week more than a million online accounts were created. Those new gamblers wagered more than $150 million in the first weekend alone.
NewsNation reporter Alex Caprariello said, “The rise in mobile sports betting in states across the U.S. isn’t necessarily seen as a threat to Las Vegas. In fact, sportsbook executives I spoke to say when amateur bettors start playing their hands from coast to coast, it benefits the entire industry because it introduces new players to the game.”
Nevada sportsbooks still capture out-of-state bettors with their own online options, keeping in line with the competition. In reality, in-state sports betting still makes up only about 4% of the total market. That’s why the focus remains on those who end up in Las Vegas for the Super Bowl. “With the combo of the prop bets, betting action and all the big screens, there’s no better place than Las Vegas to watch the Super Bowl,” said Derek Stevens, owner and executive officer of Circa.
Of course, before you head to the betting window or online to place your bets, you’ll want to know your way around the wagering. NewsNation reporter Nick Smith laid out some of the more popular wagers.
First, there’s the over/under bet. In this one, you’re betting on the total number of points scored and predicting whether it will be higher or lower than the number given. So if the over/under is 40 and you “bet the over,” you’re betting at least 41 points will be scored.
Then there’s betting the spread. In this case, the Rams are 3.5-point favorites, so if you bet the spread and they win by 4 points or more, you win. If the scrappy Bengals pull off a win or lose by a field goal, you lose.
Finally, there’s the money line bet, which is the clearest “Who’s going to win” pick of the bunch. In this one, you simply pick which team you think will win and your payout is based on odds determined by the sportsbook.
If those are too boring for you, you can explore the wild and wonderful world of prop bets.