More than 31 Million Americans Expect to Wager on Sunday’s Super Bowl

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More than 31 Million Americans Expect to Wager on Sunday’s Super Bowl
© USA Today

The Super Bowl matchup on Sunday features two teams from states without legal sports betting — the Cincinnati Bengals (Ohio) and Los Angeles Rams (California).

That’s not stopping nationwide wagering excitement leading into the NFL’s marquee event, with 31.4 million American adults planning to bet on the contest, according to an American Gaming Association report on Tuesday.

How Rams vs. Bengals Super Bowl Shapes Up

The 56th Super Bowl is being played at SoFi Stadium, home of the NFC champion Rams. The stadium is in Inglewood, just south of Los Angeles.

The Bengals, winners of the AFC championship, are 4.5-point underdogs, according to Caesars Sportsbook. Game time is 6:30 p.m. ET.

In Ohio, sports wagering has been authorized, but regulators must first implement the rules to govern the industry and approve sports betting operators, which could take several more months.

West of there in California, the nation’s most populous state, voters could see several sports betting initiatives on the November ballot.

Sports Betting’s Popularity Expands Nationwide

Though California and Ohio bettors can’t legally wager on the game this year, sports betting is operational in 30 other states and Washington, D.C. It is legal in three more states but not yet up and running.

The highest betting percentage, in terms of overall participation, comes from the northeast, at 16%. After that, the highest levels are in the West (15%), the Midwest (10%) and the South (10%).

With the increase in availability for legal Super Bowl betting, 45 million more Americans can legally wager on the 2022 Super Bowl in their home state than in the previous year.

The states that went live with sports betting in 2021 include Arizona, Connecticut, Louisiana and Maryland. Others are North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Legal Wagering Important to Bettors

According to the American Gaming Association report, 76% of bettors said: “it is important to bet through a legal operator.” That figure is up 11 percentage points from 2021.

Bill Miller, the association’s president and CEO, said Americans “have never been more interested in legal sports wagering.”

“The growth of legal options across the country not only protects fans and the integrity of games and bets, but also puts illegal operators on notice that their time is limited,” he said.

Statistics Show Increased Interest in Sports Betting

In its report, the American Gaming Association released the following figures:

  • $7.61 billion will be bet this year on the Super Bowl.
  • 18.2 million American adults will place traditional sports wagers online, at a retail sportsbook or with a bookie, up 78% from 2021.
  • 18.5 million plan to bet casually with friends or as part of a pool or squares contest, up 23% from 2021.
  • 12.9 million people plan to place a bet online this year, up 70% from 2021.
  • 4.7 million people plan to place a bet in person at a sportsbook, up 231% from 2021.

Louisiana Love the Bengal’s Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase

Going into the game, a majority of bettors nationwide are favoring the Rams, 55% to 45%, according to the report.

In Louisiana sports betting, much of the betting enthusiasm is centered on the Bengals, said Casey Lewless, who manages the sportsbooks at two Penn National riverboat casinos in Bossier City.

Lewless told that Louisiana bettors favor the Bengals partly because Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow and wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase are popular in the state, having led the 2019 LSU Tigers to a national title.

The Rams also have former LSU players, but Burrow and Chase are fan favorites, Lewless said.

“In Louisiana, they are in love with Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase,” Lewless said. “Yes, there are LSU players on both sides, but those two are the toast of the state right now, so the Burrow-led local money is keeping the line balanced.”

Lewless said he is holding the betting line at Rams -4 for now, though he might see it going back to Rams -4.5 at some point.

“I expect the sharp bettor to come in late on the Rams,” he said.

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Larry Henry

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