The most popular sport to bet on is the NFL, making the Super Bowl one of the most bet on individual events in all of sports each year. This was evident again this past year as $153 million was wagered on Super Bowl LVII at Nevada sportsbooks. Sports betting is here to stay and appears to be growing at a high rate. With many states legalizing betting it was unclear how the change might impact one of Vegas’s biggest draws. The answer for the Super Bowl at least seems to be that legalization elsewhere has only helped Nevada’s sports betting bottom line.
The Nevada State Gaming Control Board releases their Super Bowl numbers from 190 sportsbooks across the state around 24 hours after the game, at which point we will update our information.
Below is a table showing the total handle (total amount of all wagers taken in) and profit reported by Nevada sportsbooks on each Super Bowl since 1991.
|YEAR||SUPER BOWL||AMT WAGERED||PROFIT||RETURN||WINNER||LOSER|
Sports books have made out extremely well when it comes to the Super Bowl. A big reason why is that square bettors (those that don’t usually bet) are attracted to the big game and they are prone to making high-risk bets like parlays and props that are unlikely to win. There have been just two cases since 1991 when books have produced a net loss on the Super Bowl (1995 and 2008).
In 1995, the San Francisco 49ers were the biggest favorites in Super Bowl history (18 points), but that didn’t detract bettors from loading up on the obviously better team, as well as the over. The Niners covered and the total went well over the 53.5 mark (San Fran won 49-26, a 23-point victory with 75 points scored).
The 2008 Super Bowl played out much differently. The New England Patriots were 14-point favorites against the New York Giants. For this game the public did something it rarely does – it bet overwhelmingly on the underdog. Not only did the Giants cover the spread, they won the game outright, meaning a disaster for sportsbooks that had to payout moneyline bets on New York at nearly 10-to-1 as well.
Each year there is a new study or estimate by an expert on how much is wagered offshore at online sportsbooks, or with local bookies, or between friends. Some of these estimates include office pools and international wagers taken legally, some do not.
The best information we have is from the American Gaming Association, which recently released their estimate of the total of all wagers legal or not on the Super Bowl this season. The number they’ve come up with is mind-blowing at $16 billion, which is more than two times any estimate for any single year. It’s clear this number has been pushed up thanks to more states offering sports betting. This means more real data is available, meaning their estimates prior to legalization may have been on the low side.