Sports

Record number of bets expected for Super Bowl

Key Points
  • New data shows more than 26 million Americans will wager $6.8 billion on Super Bowl LIV.
  • 14 states currently accept sports bets.
  • Sports gambling has translated into higher engagement among NFL fans.
People take pictures near the Super Bowl LIV fan zone on January 24, 2020 in Miami Beach.
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This year's Super Bowl will be the most legally bet on Super Bowl in history. New data from the American Gaming Association says 26 million Americans will wager approximately $6.8 billion on Super Bowl LIV, a 15% increase from last year's game as the Kansas City Chiefs face off against the San Francisco 49ers.

"Americans have never before had so many opportunities to wager on the Super Bowl in a safe and legal manner, and clearly, they are getting in on the action," said Bill Miller, president and CEO of the association. Miller tells CNBC that bettors are beginning to migrate from the illegal marketplace. "That's the most important and exciting dynamic," he added.

Since May 2018 when the U.S. Supreme Court repealed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, 20 states now offer legal and regulated sports betting. Of those, 14 states are operational allowing sports wagering. Fourteen more states are expected to legalize this year. Legalization has proven to be a windfall for states, with $17 billion wagered legally and a lot of that money means new revenue for states.

With the new frontier of legalized sports betting taking hold, more and more Americans will wager on the Super Bowl at brick-and-mortar sportsbooks, a 25% increase from last year. Another 5 million will place their bet online or on a mobile platforms, a 19% increase from last year.

For companies FanDuel and Drafkings, the Super Bowl is one of their biggest days of the year. Both companies are hoping to capitalize on the big game.

In a recent survey, DraftKings found that 82% of fans are planning on placing a legal wager this year on the Super Bowl.

"There is a clear desire among many fans to experience these products, which, in turn, shapes their overall engagement, and we are encouraged by what these findings mean for the future growth of sports betting in the United States," said Matt Kalish, co-founder and president of Draftkings North America.

The NFL continues to be the most popular sport among users of their daily fantasy services and sportsbooks.

Last year, DraftKings set a then-company record of $11 million in payouts for New Jersey alone on Super Bowl Sunday.

Who are football fans betting on? According to the AGA's survey, 52% of people say they will bet on the Kansas City Chiefs, while 48% will bet on the 49ers.

"I think they are both very strong teams with compelling story lines," Miller said about what the team match-up might mean for bettors.

For the sports leagues, more bettors have translated into more engagement. Previous AGA research found that 75% of NFL bettors said they are likely to watch a game they have bet. NFL viewership was up 5% in 2019, and another 5 points the year before.

"It's good for fans, the leagues, teams, regulators and constituents," said Miller.

Disclosure: CNBC parent Comcast and NBC Sports are investors in FanDuel.

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