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Big Game Betting

American demand for legal wagering reaches new high as Super Bowl comes to Las Vegas for first time

Big Game Betting

Editor’s Note: This article was first published as a GGB News Special Report on February 9, 2023, two days before Super Bowl LVIII.

When Super Bowl LVIII kicked off in Las Vegas, not only was the spectacle a testament to sports leagues’ embrace of a city they used to shun, but it also spotlighted the continued mainstreaming of gaming in America.

The matchup was played in Allegiant Stadium, home of the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders. Twenty-four hours later, the NHL’s Las Vegas Golden Knights played in their home arena just across the Strip. It’s no coincidence that at the same time as legal sports betting has expanded to 39 jurisdictions across the country, sports leagues and events have flocked to Las Vegas.

Accordingly, the first-ever Super Bowl in Las Vegas coincided with Americans’ highest-ever interest in wagering on the big game. According to a new American Gaming Association (AGA) survey, a record 67.8 million American adults (26 percent) were expected to bet on this year’s game, up 35 percent from 2023. In total, bettors wagered an estimated $23.1 billion on the matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers.

Here are three big takeaways from AGA’s big game betting survey.

  1. With the expansion of legal sports betting, traditional Super Bowl bettors were expected to outnumber casual bettors for a second consecutive year. 42.7 million American adults planned to place a traditional sports wager online, at a retail sportsbook or with a bookie, up 41 percent from 2023. Meanwhile, 36.5 million Americans planned to bet casually with friends or as part of a pool or squares contest, up 32 percent from 2023.
  2. The expansion of legal sports betting is migrating Americans to the regulated market. During this year’s Super Bowl, two-thirds of American adults were able to place a legal bet on the game in their state of residence. With legal mobile wagering available in 30 U.S. jurisdictions, AGA survey data shows that 28.7 million adults, or 11 percent, intended to place wagers using a regulated online sportsbook.
  3. As Americans continue to move to the legal market, industry investments in responsible gambling are resonating. Driven by campaigns from the legal sports betting ecosystem, the majority of traditional Super Bowl bettors (75 percent) report seeing a responsible gambling message in the last year, up from 71 percent in 2023. Meanwhile, 47 percent of all American adults recall hearing or seeing a responsible gambling message in the past year, up from 40 percent last year.

While Super Bowl LVIII marked a full-circle moment for the legal U.S. gaming industry, it also provided a reminder that all stakeholders must work together to build a safe, sustainable sports betting marketplace. It is incumbent on operators, leagues, teams and media to ensure we are providing the educational resources, tools and safeguards to equip consumers to bet responsibly.

We’ve already made significant progress on each of these pillars in a still-nascent market, and the AGA is committed to continuing to lead these efforts as we work to get U.S. sports betting right.