NEW YORK (NewsNation Now) — A massive industry that was once underground is now on every billboard and bus ad in New York City. Sports betting has exploded over the last few years, and by kickoff Sunday people in 30 states as well as Washington, D.C. will have placed legal wagers on the game.
Everyone has their own angle on the Super Bowl, and for the first time in much of the nation they’ll be able to bet that angle legally, whether it’s a straight spread or one of the many prop bets being offered.
According to the American Gaming Association, 31.5 million Americans plan to bet an estimated $7.6 billion on this game. That’s a 35% increase in the number of bettors and a staggering 78% increase in the amount of money on the table.
The rocketing increases are made possible by the rapid legalization of sports gambling. More states are realizing the tax windfalls to be reaped by opening the betting windows, so legalization has come at a rapid rate.
Since the last Super Bowl, Arizona, Louisiana, Connecticut, Maryland, North Carolina, South Dakota, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming have all embraced legalized wagering. This has added 45 million people to an already expanding customer base already buoyed by the ease of access via mobile gambling, which is still relatively new in the massive New York market.
An estimated 18.2 million people will place bets online, covering everything from the typical spread and over/under bets to bizarre prop bets like the color of the Gatorade bath at the end of the game and how long it will take Mickey Guyton to sing the national anthem.
Prop bets are there to bring in those who don’t normally bet on sports, but the preponderance of money will still be wagered on the outcome of the game. According to FanDuel, 76% of bettors are picking the Cincinnati Bengals to win outright, with 59% expecting them to cover the spread of 4 points.
If you’re wondering which sporting events bring in the most wagers, worldwide it’s the World Cup by a wide margin. The 2018 World Cup netted a total of $136 billion in bets, more than the entire economy of Puerto Rico. That includes $7.2 billion bet on the final match alone.
In the U.S., of course the Super Bowl is at the top of the heap, with its one game outpacing the game played among the 64-team field of March Madness. A distant third to both of those is the Kentucky Derby.