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Super Bowl 58: Gambling Shares NFL Spotlight In Las Vegas

Bill Speros for Bookies.com

Bill Speros  | 8 mins

Super Bowl 58: Gambling Shares NFL Spotlight In Las Vegas

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Super Bowl 58 is expected to bring $1 billion to the Las Vegas economy. And more than 450,000 visitors are expected in Sin City during Super Bowl weekend. 

Nationwide, Super Bowl 58 could generate as much as $1.3 billion in legal sports betting handle, close to a 20% boost over last year, according to a bookies.com analysis. Last year, Super Bowl 57 generated an estimated $1.2 billion in legal handling nationwide. 

More than 67.8 million American adults are expected to place a wager on The Big Game this week, featuring the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers, a survey from the American Gaming Association survey released Tuesday said.

An estimated $23.1 billion will be wagered legally and illegally on The Big Game, the AGA said. That’s a 44% leap from the $16 billion in bets placed on Super Bowl 57.

The AGA survey numbers include all types of betting, including wagering done through legal U.S. sports betting apps, retail U.S. sportsbooks, illegal/offshore betting sites, bookmakers, and casual personal bets made by friends and co-workers. 

Super Bowl Comes “Home” To Las Vegas

Super Bowl 58: Gambling Shares NFL Spotlight In Las Vegas 2

This year the Super Bowl is coming home – in a way - to Las Vegas. It’s gambling’s ultimate triumph. 

Circa Sports Director of Operations Jeffrey Benson said he expects a “record handle” for this year’s game in Nevada. Those sentiments have been shared by several betting operators on The Strip. The Big Game will be played just across I-15 from Mandalay Bay at Allegiant Stadium. Last year, $153.18 million was bet on the Super Bowl Nevada, a dip from the record of $179.83 bet in the state on Super Bowl 56. 

Legal sports betting has become a core element of the Super Bowl as the halftime show, chicken wings, commercials, Taylor Swift sightings, or the game itself.

Super Bowl 57 in Glendale, Arizona, was the first Super Bowl played in a state where sports betting was legal. 

This time, the game is being played amid casinos and resorts, some of which have had sports betting for decades. 

The SuperBook unveiled its annual bible of props on February 1. This year’s is 36 pages long and includes more than 500 one-of-a-kind prop wagers on Super Bowl 58. It’s the gold standard of Super Bowl prop sheets that are duplicated in part or whole elsewhere. Each wager carries a $2,000 maximum. 

"There has been solid handle early on in the week for the game and props, but we are fully expecting this to be the highest handle of all time for this Super Bowl," SuperBook Risk Manager Andrew Babakitis told bookies.com. "Obviously, it being in Las Vegas with two very popular public teams will help out significantly. Looking forward to seeing the handle Friday, Saturday and Sunday with expectations to break handle records."

The props are put together over a three-day process, with help from the likes of Jeff Sherman and Ed Salmons. The Process goes back to the old Imperial Palace in the 1990s. 

"Every year (we're) looking to expand the markets with unique props and lines." 

Betting Moves Into The NFL Spotlight

Once the U.S. Supreme Court opened the door for nationwide sports betting in 2018, the NFL took the long-awaited leap to embrace betting with all the passion of Swift and Travis Kelce hugging on the field after the AFC Championship Game. 

While Swift may steal the show – despite her own best wishes – you won’t be able to bet on her TV appearances or presence at the game in the U.S.

Still, gambling will be omnipresent. BetMGM will air an ad featuring Tom Brady. Brady's former teammate in New England and Tampa Bay, Rob Gronkowski, is warming up his “Kick of Destiny II” for FanDuel. That will air just before kickoff. Gronk's attempt last year sailed wide left into the Arizona desert. 

For nearly 100 years, “gambling” was a four-letter work in the NFL. 

Points spreads were forbidden on NFL telecasts. Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder and Brent Musburger spoke on CBS's “The NFL Today” in coded terms about how the weather in Green Bay will impact “our friends in the desert” during the heady days of the 1970s and ‘80s. 

Gambling code occasionally appeared during telecasts, but it was veiled and hidden behind humor. 

Al Michaels was never shy about adding gambling information, albeit on the down-low, during his four decades calling games for ABC, NBC, and most recently, Amazon Prime. 

Blowouts suddenly mattered when a team was driving late.

To wit, check this call from an NFL preseason game in 2010.

Super Bowl 57 Worth $1.3 Billion To Arizona

Super Bowl 57, won by the Kansas City Chiefs, generated more than $1.3 billion in total economic output, and added $726.1 million to Arizona’s GDP, according to a study performed by the Seidman Research Institute at Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business.

Those numbers can be deceiving when it comes to determining how the money actually lands into the local economy because they measure gross output, and not additions to the local economy. 

“When it comes to the economic impact of mega events like the Super Bowl, that is something that economists have studied quite extensively,” J.C. Bradbury, a professor of Economics at Kennesaw State University, told Cronkite News. “And the general result is that the economic impact of these events is actually quite small – far less than numbers that are claimed.”

The real impact on Las Vegas could be easier to determine once the game has passed, given its dependence on tourism and the ability to compare this weekend to past Super Bowl weekends. 

Las Vegas Always Attracts ‘Super’ Crowd

This game is a Super Bowl 54 rematch between the 49ers and Chiefs. Ticket prices range from a get-in price of $8,000 on TickPick (with no fees) in the upper-level endzone of Allegiant Stadium, to $44,500 (plus $9,350 in fees) to sit Row 29, Section C134 at the 50-yard-line, via Ticketmaster. 

Both SeatGeek and TickPick say this is the most expensive Super Bowl on record, with average prices ranging from $10,527 to $12,082.

Many fans trek to Sin City for The Big Game each year, regardless of where it is played.

The Las Vegas Big Game Party is in Year 18. The event is held at the SuperBook, formerly known as the Westgate and the Hilton before that. Tickets for the all-you-can-eat-and-drink affair start at $275. 

The ”Official Vegas Big Game Facebook Group” has more than 5,900 members on Facebook. It is a one-stop shop for fans who plan on attending the game in Vegas each year, offering tips on lodging, dining, and where to watch The Big Game. The group has been operating for 20 years.

38 States & Washington DC Allow Legal Betting 

Super Bowl 58: Gambling Shares NFL Spotlight In Las Vegas 1

When Super Bowl 58 kicks off at 6:30 p.m. ET on Sunday (CBS), sports betting will be legal in 38 states (plus Washington DC). (Map via American Gaming Association.)

Mobile betting is operational in 28 states, including all of New England, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Virginia, and Arizona. It’s also available in Kansas, which is less than 8 miles from the home of the Chiefs, Arrowhead Stadium. North Carolina begins online betting on March 11. 

Five states are taking online wagers on the Super Bowl for the first time this year

  • Massachusetts
  • Vermont 
  • Maine
  • Florida
  • Kentucky

Massachusetts has taken in more than $4.7 billion in online wagers since its launch last March.  

Even though Florida has just one operator – Hard Rock Bet – it is the largest state in the nation with legal sports betting. There is no official data yet from the state, which began taking action again in November. 

Massachusetts' legal sports betting handle in December was more than $658.7 million. Given Florida's population of 21 million vs. the 7 million of the Bay State, that number could equate to $1.5 billion in Florida (given that it has just one betting site). 

NFL, Gambling Have Complex Relationship 

The NFL has official partnerships with DraftKings, Caesars, and FanDuel. Those five-year deals began before the 2021 season and could bring the league nearly $1 billion in revenue. All the revenue generated by gambling partnerships and sponsorships is factored into the league salary cap in the same way TV money is. 

Under the current CBA, players get roughly 48.8% of that revenue. 

Several stadiums now have sports books on site. This stands in direct conflict with the league’s harsh stance when it comes to NFL players and betting. 

Multiple players have been suspended by the league for betting on the NFL, betting while on an NFL site, or being with their teams on the road, since PASPA was overturned in 2018, allowing sports betting to spread nationwide. 

Before this season, the league and players’ union made an unapologetic push to clarify and promulgate the rules concerning player gambling. And the league lessened the penalties for some first-time offenders, depending on the circumstances. 

Here’s a basic rundown of the rules, which were shared again by the NFL this past week.

  1. Don’t bet on the NFL
  2. Don’t bet at work or while you’re working
  3. Don’t have someone bet for you
  4. Don’t share ‘inside information’
  5. Don’t enter a sportsbook during the NFL season
  6. Don’t play fantasy football

If it was only that simple. 

About the Author

Bill Speros for Bookies.com
Bill Speros
Bill Speros is an award-winning journalist and editor whose career includes stops at USA Today Sports Network / Golfweek, Cox Media, ESPN, Orlando Sentinel and Denver Post.