Last year, the legal Super Bowl LIV betting handle came in between US$280 million and US$300 million. Although the 2021 numbers are preliminary and some States have yet to report at all, the handle is trending north of US$400 million and may break the US$500 million barrier. Informally known as ‘Gambling’s National Holiday,’ Super Bowl Sunday in 2021 was obviously buoyed by the rapidly increasing number of jurisdictions that offer legal sports gambling. Super Bowl LV, with underdog Tampa Bay Buccaneers routing Kansas City Chiefs by 31 to 9, kicked off with sports betting legal in 20 states and the District of Columbia. Some jurisdictions offer both online and retail sports gambling; others only retail betting, and the rest just online. By the end of the year, several more states are expected to launch sports wagering.
A report from financial company Morgan Stanley said that gambling traffic volumes increased 254% year-over-year for Super Bowl weekend. Two of the most mature online sports wagering states, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, were up more that 70%. Besides, online transactions for the weekend exceeded 32 million (about 20 million on Super Sunday itself). The weekend number was a little more than triple that of 2020. However, this particular event has had some serious problems. Many of U.S. largest sports gambling operators were beset by technical problems on Super Bowl Sunday that certainly held down some betting. Some websites experienced outages with bettors unable to get to their accounts just before the game started. All issues reported pointed to a surge in traffic that caused the downtime. How much money was lost to bookmakers will never be known, but it’s certainly an important footnote when looking at the overall numbers.
STATE-BY-STATE SUPER BOWL FIGURES
Based on indicators from specialized website Odds.com, exclusively provided to G&M News, the wagering information so far about different states is the following:
Nevada: The Nevada Gaming Control Board figures showed US$136.1 million was wagered in the state’s 184 sportsbooks on this year’s Super Bowl. The unaudited numbers expressed a win of about US$12.6 million. The hold percentage was 9.2%. Nevada is the clear leader so far.
New Jersey: There was a handle of US$117.4 million on the Super Bowl, which at least doubled (a 116% increase to be exact) of what 2020 took in. New Jersey sportsbooks won a net US$11.3 million (about 9.6% hold), according to the Division of Gaming Enforcement. These are preliminary numbers from 21 sports betting mobile apps and 12 retail sportsbooks.
Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board reported that preliminary figures show US$53.63 million was wagered during Super Bowl weekend through retail and online sportsbooks. That was a 74% increase over wagers placed on the game last year. Revenue was about US$9.4 million (17.6% hold), certainly an improvement over last year, when the books actually lost US$3.3 million. In the online-retail comparison, about 89% of wagers (US$47.5 million) were via online and mobile. Regulators said there were 15 retail sports betting locations and 12 online wagering sites taking bets on Super Bowl LV. Also, the board reported there were 320,000 unique users that logged onto online sports wagering sites in Pennsylvania on Super Bowl Sunday (200,000 unique visitors in 2020).
Illinois: It was the first State to report its Super Bowl handle and, as expected, it broke records. According to the Illinois Gaming Board, US$45.6 million in bets came in for Super Bowl LV, which generated US$1,148,890 in tax revenue for the State. Online sports betting dominated on Sunday, as US$42.7 million out of the total came in online. The bookmakers’ adjusted gross revenue was US$7.7 million (about 16.7% hold). Gov. JB Pritzker helped that figure last Friday by extending remote registration for new sports bettors into March. Illinois law has an in-person registration requirement, but that has been suspended because of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Colorado: Figures released by the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission show US$31.2 million in total wagers, US$14.3 million in future bets and US$16.9 million in gameday bets.
Iowa: Super Bowl handle was US$16.3 million, according to the Iowa Gaming Association. Last year, it was US$6.5 million. Revenue figures were not available. The in-person registration requirement for Iowa ended on January 1st, bringing in new operators to the State and easing registration for new bettors.
New Hampshire: The lottery in New Hampshire estimated players wagered more than US$7.1 million on the Super Bowl. 81% of the wagers were on Tampa Bay. That was bad news for the State lottery: it paid out US$8.8 million to the players, for a net loss of US$1.7 million. On the brighter side, the Super Bowl betting was up by nearly US$5 million compared to last year, when betting amounted to US$2.31 million.
Mississippi: Local authorities reported a State handle at US$6.7 million
Rhode Island: Sportsbooks in Rhode Island received total wagers of US$6.5 million on the Super Bowl, according to the Rhode Island Lottery, with taxable revenue almost hitting US$805,000.
West Virginia: This State had a cool US$3.9 million handle.
Oregon: Super Bowl handle for Oregon was about US$3.5 million, with nearly US$700,000 in revenue (about a 20% hold). One hundred fifty thousand wagers at an average of US$23 per bet were reported, said the Oregon Lottery.
Delaware: Total of all wagers on the Super Bowl was US$1.9 million, with a win of US$226,000, according to the Delaware Lottery. In Delaware, straight wagers (off the board point spread, money line, proposition bets from the state’s three casinos) had sales of US$1.4 million, with a US$132,000 win.
THE UNDERDOG CASHED
It was widely known that the public was on Kansas City. Sportsbooks were reporting up to 62% of bets were on the Chiefs. Unfortunately, that was great for sportsbooks and not so great for bettors, as the underdog cashed after the clear victory of Tampa Bay. Bettors did cash on the Bucs Futures bets, which made a dent in operators’ winnings. Early numbers show that the U.S. has fully embraced placing their sports betting action locally, and players are all in for generating much-needed tax revenue for their States.
Here’s the breakdown of the biggest bets placed on Super Bowl LV:
1) US$3.46 million on Bucs + 3.5 (-127) at DraftKings Sportsbook (Colorado)
2) US$2.5 million on Chiefs ML (-165) at BetMGM
3) US$2.3 million on Bucs + 3.5 (-115) at BetMGM
4) US$1.16 million on Chiefs ML (-155) at William Hill
5) US$1 million on Bucs ML (+ 135) at BetMGM
6) US$1 million teaser on Bucs + 9 and Over 50
Some of these numbers evidence the huge enthusiasm for sports betting in the United States. In fact, in a recent pre-Super Bowl research from the American Gaming Association (AGA), the entity predicted 23.2 million Americans were planning to bet a total of US$4.3 billion on that event. Among bettors, a record 7.6 million were going to wager with online sportsbooks this year, up 63% year-over-year, the report said. Since last year’s game, 36 million more American adults have gained the opportunity to safely bet in legal markets in their home State, with seven new jurisdictions now live: Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Montana, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington DC. According to AGA, more than US$21 billion was wagered on sports in 2020, up from US$13 billion in 2019, generating more than US$210 million in State and local taxes. Mobile wagering has accounted for 82% of legal sports wagers nationwide during the pandemic.