How Much Are People Betting On Super Bowl LVIII?

There's no denying the impact that sports betting has had on football in America in recent years. From the onslaught of commercials for sports betting apps to the inclusion of referee-ruling statistics into game odds, gambling has become part of the conversation today for many NFL fans. According to the American Gaming Association, the 2023 Super Bowl saw record-breaking numbers with over 50 million people (that's one in five Americans) placing bets. The 50 million people who placed bets accounted for a 61% increase in the number of bettors compared to 2022, and the combined single-game legal betting total broke records at $1.08 billion (although the estimated totals for all wager types was $16 billion).

While those stats sound crazy enough already, you might be surprised to learn that the upcoming Super Bowl between the San Francisco 49ers and the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs is expected to shatter those records by as much as 20%. Per Legal Sports Report estimates, Super Bowl LVIII will rake in a record $1.3 billion in legal bets. This isn't only an all-time high for sports betting, but it will also mark the first year of legal Super Bowl betting for states like Florida, Massachusetts, Kentucky, Maine, Nebraska, and Vermont. As for who the people are betting on in 2024, BetMGM data analyst John Ewing shared on X, formerly known as Twitter, that the Chiefs, this year's underdog, are getting five times as many early bets to win as the 49ers.

Betting for the 2024 Super Bowl

While you might have dabbled in a simplified win-or-lose bet or even an office pool, legal game betting has expanded the possibilities of just what, exactly, you can bet on. While there are more straightforward bets on who will win the Super Bowl (called money line bets), the over/under, and even betting on the spread of the final score, there are also more specific bets on individual player stats and in-game accomplishments. Notably, proposition bets, aka prop bets, have experienced a surge in popularity. Prop bets allow a bettor to bet on just about any novelty angle imaginable. A popular example is the Super Bowl Gatorade bet, in which bettors bet on the color of the Gatorade that'll be used in the winning coach's famous post-game bath. Generally speaking, these bets have little to do with the outcome of the actual game but they serve as a fun way to potentially predict other game happenings.

One bettor has already placed a $100,000 bet on the coin toss (they bet that it will land on tails for anyone curious), while a bettor in Michigan has already bet $1 million on the 49ers to win. There are also popular bets on who will be selected as Super Bowl MVP, the exact length of Reba McEntire's National Anthem performance, and what songs will be included in Usher's halftime set list. There's even a slew of Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce-themed prop bets, with ESPN BET offering a special section called "Swelce Specials."

Legal sports betting in the US

If you're wondering why sports betting seems to be more common than it used to be (and why you're seeing SO many DraftKings commercials), it goes back to a Supreme Court decision in 2018. Since 1991, a federal law known as the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act had blocked all but four states from betting, with only Nevada (that is, Las Vegas and Reno) being allowed to operate full sports betting. However, New Jersey brought a case with the intention of ending Nevada's monopoly, and in May of 2018, the United States Supreme Court officially struck down PASPA. This cleared the way for other states across the country to open up their markets to legal sports betting as well, and as of January 2024, 38 states total have legalized sports betting (along with Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia).

Since 2018, the betting industry has only continued to grow. The American Gaming Association reports that as of November 2023, the commercial gaming industry had experienced 31 consecutive months of year-over-year growth (plus, it was the industry's highest-grossing November in history with $5.38 billion in revenue from traditional casino games, sports betting, and iGaming). Further, the combined gaming revenue for the first 11 months of 2023 was $59.84 billion, which outpaced 2022 by 9.5%. Notable holdouts to the legal gaming and sports-betting arena include California and Texas. The two most populous states have resisted attempts to open their state to the sports betting frenzy, with California voters blocking an initiative on the ballot in 2022, while Texas legislators have been unable to get a bill on the ballot for voters.