We may not know for sure for some time, but the early numbers suggest a record amount of Super Bowl-related wagering this year at retail and online sports betting sites in the United States.
The Big Game in Arizona on Sunday, which ultimately ended as a 38-35 win by the Kansas City Chiefs, was always expected to draw a hefty amount of attention from bettors. Notably, it was the first Super Bowl played in a state with legal sports betting.
Heading into the matchup, the American Gaming Association's (AGA) forecast called for a record 50.4 million adults in the U.S. to wager another all-time high of $16 billion or so on the Big Game. The AGA also predicted "traditional" Super Bowl wagering would, at last, surpass "casual" betting this year. In other words, there would be more people making bets such as Chiefs +1.5 at a sportsbook or with a bookie than there would be participation in pools or squares contests among friends.
“Every year, the Super Bowl serves to highlight the benefits of legal sports betting: bettors are transitioning to the protections of the regulated market, leagues and sports media are seeing increased engagement, and legal operators are driving needed tax revenue to states across the country," AGA President and CEO Bill Miller said in a press release.
'A record-breaking event'
A few factors drove what was almost certainly the most legally wagered upon Super Bowl, if not the most-bet Big Game ever. And the growth and maturation of the legal market in the U.S. are definitely among those reasons.
The AGA provided an estimate of the legal handle growth on the Super Bowl, including that last year's wagering on the game was around $950 million. That betting took place before Ohio launched event wagering this past January and before Maryland launched its mobile sportsbook market in November, among other things. Those two developments will be significant drivers of additional Super Bowl handle.
Indeed, GeoComply Solutions Inc. reported shortly after the Super Bowl wrapped up that it conducted 12.6 million geolocation checks in Ohio on Saturday and Sunday for online sportsbooks. That was second only to New York among the 23 states where GeoComply is active.
Overall, GeoComply said it conducted 100 million geolocation checks on Saturday and Sunday this past weekend, a 25% increase from last year. The company, which helps sports betting sites determine where their customers are, also said it helped register 7.4 million accounts over the weekend, up 32% from a year earlier. Not only that, but GeoComply said there were more than 100,000 geolocation checks in and around State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Az., suggesting a fair amount of traffic at the Big Game.
“Super Bowl LVII was a record-breaking event,” GeoComply Co-Founder and CEO Anna Sainsbury said in a press release. “GeoComply data reveals that Americans’ interest in legally betting on the Super Bowl has never been higher. It also showed that many fans at State Farm Stadium embraced their newfound ability to bet while watching the game in person.”
The early chatter among operators is that it was a huge night for them, even if it didn’t necessarily translate into winnings.
Microbetting company Simplebet told Covers it saw an almost 50% increase in handle on Sunday compared to last year's Super Bowl, with wagering on its markets such as the outcome of the next drive in the game adding up to approximately $13 million. More than one million bets were taken by Simplebet's partners during the Super Bowl, including $1.2 million wagered on the final Chiefs drive.
The heavy action on last night’s game cost bet365 dearly. The U.K.-based bookmaker, which is now live in four states, offered various bet “boosts” to punters before the Super Bowl, such as enhanced odds on Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce scoring a touchdown. Those offers were seized on by bettors, prompting a "seven-figure payout" from bet365 in the first quarter alone.
“Both teams scoring at least 35 points for the first time in history was never going to end well for us and we’ve taken a hammering – without doubt, our worst ever Super Bowl result by some margin,” bet365’s Steve Freeth said in a press release.