It is playoff time and the Super Bowl is close. Football fans by the millions are watching the games; Neilson estimated that 90% of television sets in Kansas City were tuned to the Chiefs-Jacksonville game two Sundays ago. More than any other year, millions of football fans are placing a wager on the games. Football is an emotional game for fans, especially when they have money on the line. With skin in the game, people really care and they want to see every play.
Nowhere is that more apparent than during the playoffs. In Philadelphia, excitement over the Eagles has been high all year. The team finished the regular season with a 14-3 record and fans think this may the Eagles’s year to win it all. When the Eagles beat the New York Giants two Sundays ago, that set the stage for the team to take on the San Francisco 49ers in the conference championship. Both of those games were played in Philadelphia, the first playoff games the city has hosted since sports betting became legal in Pennsylvania. The sports book in Live! Philadelphia said the week of the Giants game was the second busiest the book had ever had. The week leading up to and including the 49er game looked to beat that. And if the Eagles advance to the Super Bowl, that week will eclipse all others.
Restaurants, bars, and taverns all over Philadelphia geared up for the game. Regardless of what else was on the menu, the main course for everyone was the Eagles and 49ers. Mobile sports betting is legal in Pennsylvania, so wherever people can watch the game, they can also bet on the game.
The same was true in Kansas City where the Chiefs played the Cincinnati Bengals. Arrowhead Stadium is actually in Kansas City, Missouri, not Kansas, but the Chiefs are still a Kansas team. The hometown enthusiasm undoubtedly stretched to every corner of Kansas, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. There were over 70,000 people at each of the games, but around each state, millions more were in bars and restaurants watching and betting. These two games are the second most important of the 2022-23 season.
February 12 is the high point of the National Football League season. It is Super Bowl Day, the 57th time the league has held its championship. It is also the high point in sports betting; only March Madness attracts as much wagering interest. The American Gaming Association estimated that 31 million people wagered $7 billion on Super Bowl LVI. The actual wagering for February 2022 totaled more than $7 billion. This year, the number is likely to be higher. More states are taking sports bets this year and several have added mobile wagering. The addition of mobile is the most important factor. And this year will have something else: The hometown fans will have a hometown book willing to book their action.
Except for San Francisco, each city now has sports betting. This was the first year that people in three out of four of the conference championship teams could place a bet on the home team in their hometown and home state. Mobile wagering is legal in all but California; thus, people have been able to wager from home or wherever they watched the games.
Super Bowl LVII will be played in Arizona, the first year the Super Bowl will be played in a state with legal sports betting. It will not be the last; next year the game will be in Nevada and the following year in Louisiana. Both states have legal sports betting. While State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, will not offer wagering, there is a book next to the stadium. However, why walk? Mobile betting is legal in the state and Arizona has licensed at least nine betting apps.
In an article in The Nevada Independent, Howard Stutz wrote about the irony of legal sports betting at the Super Bowl. As Howard pointed out, “The NFL, once opposed to even the mention of Las Vegas in advertisements during the Super Bowl, now has sports betting partnerships with DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM, while 20 of the league’s 32 teams play home games in legal sports-betting states.”
Welcome to sports betting in 2022, 2023, and beyond. It is not your grandfather’s Super Bowl or any other sporting event.