Most people seem to love her, some people claim to hate her, but these days it’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t recognize her. Taylor Swift is everywhere all at once and in all probability, that will include Sunday’s Super Bowl LVIII at Allegiant Stadium on the Las Vegas Strip.
You can’t beat her, you can’t even hope to contain her, but you also can’t bet on her. Not in Nevada, anyway.
From how much air time she’ll receive to whether she’ll get a kiss or marriage proposal from boyfriend and Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce after the game, offshore and overseas sportsbooks are grabbing media attention and betting dollars with Swiftian proposition bets. Will her post-concert flight from Tokyo be delayed or canceled? You can bet it.
Other operators will surely cash in – in case you haven’t noticed, people will bet on just about anything – but such easily manipulated wagers are against Nevada gaming regulations.
From where he sits as sportsbook director at Gaughan Gaming, Hall-of-Fame Las Vegas bookmaker Vincent Magliulo likes the rules as they stand. He enjoys a laugh as much as the next guy and appreciates the remarkable energy boost Swift gives to the entertainment end of the sport of football. But he prefers his handicapping with a little math and based on what happens on the field, not in the VIP suites at the stadium.
Like other industry veterans, and he’s been behind the counter 45 years in every phase of the business, Magliulo remembers only too well how the NFL vilified Las Vegas bookmakers and the state’s legalized sports betting as a mortal sin in a league whose owners and players were hardly choirboys.
That attitude began to change forever in 2018 when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA.) With 38 states and Washington, D.C., now regulating legalized sports betting and the professional leagues, the NCAA, and individual players cashing in on licensing relationships, the world looks very different in 2024.
Where once Las Vegas was shunned, it now plays the gracious – no, make that audacious – host. What is the proliferation of sports betting doing to the Las Vegas sportsbooks? From the look of things, it’s sparking more interest in placing bets in a legal atmosphere.
“The game from the event perspective, along with its wagering, will be front and center, not just on Sunday, but every day leading up to Sunday,” Magliulo says.
For the record, he expects the handle in Las Vegas to top last year’s $153 million. “It’s the great American sporting event and everyone wants to get involved with it,” he says. With 19 pages of proposition bets, there’s no shortage of action available.
Beyond the Super Bowl, the sports-gaming business is growing in every direction. It’s a growth industry. Magliulo’s responsibilities include overseeing Gaughan Gaming, the Las Vegas Dissemination Service, the members of the Nevada Pari-Mutuel Association, and Native American casino clients that include Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut and tribal casinos in New Mexico.
But Vinny, what about the Taylor Swift betting?
“We can’t book her,” he says without a hint of regret. “By regulation, we can’t book how many times the lovely Taylor Swift will be shown, the length of the National Anthem, or the color of the Gatorade. We’ll book the events that take place on the field, including the coin toss.”
Swift’s public romance with Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce is a little reminiscent of another beauty-and-the-ballplayer story with Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio in the starring roles.
“Anymore, our pop culture and sports worlds overlap and intersect,” he says. “What she’s done to increase the exposure of the sport, good for her. I’m all for it. Let’s just say there’s no bad blood between this bookmaker and Taylor.”