Sunday’s Super Bowl between the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs may not have the same pop as years past, but it hasn’t diminished the excitement among sports betters ahead of the Big Game.
In fact, the American Gaming Association (AGA) is anticipating a record 50.4 million American adults plan to bet $16 billion on Super Bowl LVII. That’s an increase of 61% over last year, according to the data sent out this week.
That wasn’t much of a surprise for AGA senior Vice President Casey Clark.
“The Super Bowl is always one of if not the biggest bet upon sporting events of the year, so it’s not surprising to see that there’s a lot of planned activity around that planned betting action on the Super Bowl,” Clark said in a phone interview with amNewYork. That’s kind of something we expect every year, but what we’re seeing is the remarkable growth of the legal market. And significant migration of Americans who want to bet on sports, moving away from the illegal market that’s been you know, kind of operating out in the open for a long time to the protections of the legal market, which is really encouraging.”
Legalized sports betting has grown in leaps in bounds over the last few years as more and more states have allowed it. New York legalized mobile sports last year and the state has seen record numbers in the year that it has been allowed in the Empire State.
Across the United States, 33 states and Washington D.C. allow legal sports betting.
It has also been a boon for the major sports leagues, including the NFL. Sports betting legalization has driven fan interest in the NFL, as more than a third (34%) of NFL fans say that the expansion of legal sports betting has made watching an NFL game more exciting.
“We always knew that sports betting and any other way to engage with content was going to elevate the level of fan engagement with that content,” Clark said. “So that’s true for the Super Bowl, but it’s also true as you mentioned for 17 Sundays throughout the year and then, you know, extract that or do expand that to NBA games and baseball games and NASCAR races and golf tournaments. And you know, there’s any number of really strong opportunities to give fans kind of a way to engage more significantly in the content and that’s I think the evolution.”
Sports betting has seen a massive shift in the perception of it as it has moved away from the illegal forms and into the legal realm. Seven in 10 adults who plan to bet on the Super Bowl this year placed greater importance on wagering through legal means, according to data from the AGA.
“If you look at how sophisticated some of these online offshore operators have become, it’s easy for American consumers to get tricked into believing they’re regulated and licensed,” Clark said. “It’s critically important that we bring those kinds of protections to people who want to bet on sports. It’s critically important that we migrate them into the protections of the legal market. And our research suggests that the vast majority of people believe they should only be doing it legally.”