The Super Bowl is the biggest single event for sports betting in North America and that means big business in Nevada — the Mecca of U.S. sports gambling.
Even as more states roll out legal betting, the famed Silver State sportsbooks, like those on the Las Vegas Strip, are still the measuring stick in terms of Big Game betting success.
The growing popularity of Super Bowl betting has Nevada bookmakers flirting with record numbers for total Super bowl handle (money wagered) and sportsbook win every February. And with Las Vegas an appealing destination in the cold winter months, football fans flock to Sin City sportsbooks — the next best place to watch the Big Game besides attending the Super Bowl itself.
According to the Nevada Gaming Control Board, Super Bowl LII in 2018 set the state record for Super Bowl betting handle, with $158,586,934 wagered on the NFL championship between the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots.
Super Bowl LIV in 2020 between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers came close to that record handle, with $154,679,241 in bets reported, but was the most profitable Super Bowl for Silver State sportsbooks with a win of $18,774,14 on a hold percentage of 12.1 percent.
Here’s a look at the Super Bowl betting results for Nevada sportsbooks since 1991:
|Super Bowl (Year)||Super Bowl Result||Total Handle||Sportsbook Win||Hold (Win %)|
|Super Bowl LIV (2020)||Kansas City 31,
San Francisco 20
|Super Bowl LIII (2019)||New England 13,
Los Angeles 3
|Super Bowl LII (2018)||Philadelphia 41,
New England 33
|Super Bowl LI (2017)||New England 34,
|Super Bowl 50 (2016)||Denver 24,
|Super Bowl XLIX (2015)||New England 28,
|Super Bowl XLVIII (2014)||Seattle 43,
|Super Bowl XLVII (2013)||Baltimore 34,
San Francisco 31
|Super Bowl XLVI (2012)||N.Y. Giants 21,
New England 17
|Super Bowl XLV (2011)||Green Bay 31,
|Super Bowl XLIV (2010)||New Orleans 31, Indianapolis 17||$82,726,367||$6,857,101||8.3%|
|Super Bowl XLIII (2009)||Pittsburgh 27,
|Super Bowl XLII (2008)||N.Y. Giants 17,
New England 14
|Super Bowl XLI (2007)||Indianapolis 29,
|Super Bowl XL (2006)||Pittsburgh 21,
|Super Bowl XXXIX (2005)||New England 24, Philadelphia 21||$90,759,236||$15,430,138||17.00%|
|Super Bowl XXXVIII (2004)||New England 32, Carolina 29||$81,242,191||$12,440,698||15.31%|
|Super Bowl XXXVII (2003)||Tampa Bay 48,
|Super Bowl XXXVI (2002)||New England 20,
St. Louis 17
|Super Bowl XXXV (2001)||Baltimore 34,
New York Giants 7
|Super Bowl XXXIV (2000)||St. Louis 23,
|Super Bowl XXXIII (1999)||Denver 34,
|Super Bowl XXXII (1998)||Denver 31,
Green Bay 24
|Super Bowl XXXI (1997)||Green Bay 35,
New England 21
|Super Bowl XXX (1996)||Dallas 27,
|Super Bowl XXIX (1995)||San Francisco 49,
San Diego 26
|Super Bowl XXVIII (1994)||Dallas 30,
|Super Bowl XXVII (1993)||Dallas 52,
|Super Bowl XXVI (1992)||Washington 37,
|Super Bowl XXV (1991)||New York Giants 20, Buffalo 19||$40,080,409||$3,512,241||8.76%|
How Does Vegas Always Win?
Well, it's not always, but it's extremely consistent. As the above table shows, Nevada sportsbooks have posted just two losing Super Bowls since 1991, though there have been a few very lean wins of 1 percent or less. For the most part, though, the books have done well.
Jay Kornegay, a decades-long industry insider who oversees operations of The SuperBook as vice president of race and sports for Westgate, explained the long-term success.
"I believe it’s been a combination of a few results," Kornegay said. "The futures have been very favorable over the years. There haven't been that many years where we lost on NFL Super Bowl futures. The outcomes have treated the books very well over the years."
Indeed, with 32 teams to bet on and only one winner, by the end of each season, oddsmakers only have to dodge that one big popular bullet or a long shot that took a lot of money at larger odds and somehow got to and won the Super Bowl.
The massive growth of Super Bowl prop bets over the past decade or so has also contributed greatly to sportsbooks' success in the market.
"The Super Bowl propositions have been out-handling the game itself for many years now," Kornegay said, speaking not only of prop-bet activity at The SuperBook, but all Nevada sportsbooks. "In most cases, the results have been positive for the operators."
And more recently, the explosive growth of betting via mobile app has been tremendous for the Super Bowl, not just up until kickoff, but throughout the game with in-game betting.
"As we all know, the mobile channel has been growing each and every year. It’s no different for the biggest single wagering event of the year," Kornegay said. "In-game wagering has also grown over the years, and its popularity during the Super Bowl has seen a spike in the last few years, as more customers are comfortable with that option."
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Where Can I Bet on the Super Bowl?
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