Fans at the Super Bowl Won’t Have to Go Far to Place a Bet

That doesn’t sit well with many sports betting advocates there. “They’re going to go watch the game at some sports bar in Kansas — Buffalo Wild Wings, whatever it might be, and inject money into those local economies when they could be doing it here in our state,” State Representative Kurtis Gregory, a Republican, told The Kansas City Star.

With more and more states allowing sports wagering, and with the Super Bowl as the biggest betting attraction of the year, it is clear that legal wagering on the game is rising. Precise numbers are hard to find because not every state breaks down wagering on a game-by-game basis.

One place that does regularly record its Super Bowl betting intake is the traditional Nevada sports books. They took in a record $179 million in wagers on last year’s game, the Nevada State Gaming Control Board reported. The figure broke $100 million for the first time in 2014.

A survey by the American Gaming Association, the casino industry trade group, estimates that of those who will bet on the game this year, 38 percent will bet online, something that was illegal almost everywhere in the country a few years ago. About 34 percent will bet with friends, and 26 percent in a pool of some kind. About 18 percent will bet at a legal sports book, whose numbers have ballooned along with the rise in legalized sports betting.

And the old-time bookie is not dead yet; 13 percent will bet with one, the trade group estimates.

Legal betting online and at casinos hit $950 million last year, the group estimates, up from $159 million in 2018, with the bulk of that increase caused by the rapid spread of outlets to wager.

Throw in all those friendly bets and office pools, not to mention betting with illegal bookmakers and offshore casinos, and the trade group says $16 billion will be bet by 50 million total Americans, although those numbers are impossible to verify.

And which team are most of these people betting on this year? Bookmakers worldwide made Kansas City the early favorite over Philadelphia, by about a point, right after the matchup was set. But money from so-called sharp bettors, who tend to be knowledgeable and bet early, flooded in on the Eagles. In a matter of hours, Philadelphia was favored by 2 to 2.5 points.

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