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Super Bowl LV set to attract record legal betting handle


Americans are set to place bets worth a combined $4.3bn – including the largest legal US betting handle of any single sporting event in history – on Super Bowl LV, according to research from the American Gaming Association (AGA).

The AGA – following a weighted survey of of 2,198 adults conducted by Morning Consult – said 23.2m Americans are set to place bets totalling $4.3bn – across licensed and unlicensed channels as well as private bets with friends – on the game this Sunday between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Of these 23.2m bettors, 7.6m are expected to bet online, up 63% from 2020. 

However, many other methods of betting saw a decline, partly due to the rise of the regulated online market but also due to the effects of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. The portion betting in person at a sportsbook is expected to decline 61% to 1.4m, while those betting with a bookie is down 21% to 1.8m.

Those who planned to place a pool, squares, or similar bet totaled 4.5m, down 19%, while 11.9m planned to casually bet against friends, down 19%.

While the AGA did not detail the total legal handle, said AGA president and chief executive Bill Miller said it was the highest total in history.

“This year’s Super Bowl is expected to generate the largest single-event legal handle in American sports betting history,” Miller said. “With a robust legal market, Americans are abandoning illegal bookies and taking their action into the regulated marketplace in record numbers.”

The growth in handle is thanks in part to six more states – Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Montana, Tennessee and Virginia – plus the District of Columbia legalising sports betting. This meant that 36m more American adults are now legally allowed to bet on sports from their home state than were permitted to bet on Super Bowl LIV in 2020.

Of those who planned to bet, a slight majority, 56%, said they planned to bet on the defending champion Chiefs compared with 44% for the Buccaneers.

The AGA’s survey also found that 34% of Americans recalled seeing responsible gaming messaging in the past year, up five percentage points from the same time in 2020. Those who said they would place a bet were significantly more likely to see responsibility content in the past year, with 53% recalling seeing these messages.

“This data is an encouraging sign that our efforts to ground the expansion of sports betting in responsible gaming is taking hold,” stated Miller. “Responsible gaming is core to legal sports betting’s long-term success, and this is borne out by continued demand for consumer protections only available in the legal market.”