Super Bowl week is in full swing, and bookmakers across the country are preparing for the biggest betting event in history.
Bettors in the US are expected to legally wager nearly $1.175 billion on the Eagles and the Chiefs in Super Bowl 57, which would mark the first billion-dollar game the country has ever seen. Last year’s matchup between the Rams and Bengals drew an estimated $957 million in total wagers.
That 10-figure total is not the only big milestone on the horizon either.
For the first time, the 2023 Super Bowl features a team from a state with legal sports betting: Pennsylvania. With the festivities already under way in Arizona, the game itself is for the first time being played in a legal state too.
Super Bowl betting is available in 33 states plus the District of Columbia this year, an increase of three markets from 2022.
Nevada still Super Bowl betting king?
In the time since the last Super Bowl, New York cemented its position atop the US sports betting mountain. The Empire State generated nearly twice the handle and three times the revenue of Nevada to lead all states for the last calendar year.
New York did not itemize Super Bowl handle in 2022, which creates some obvious complications in forecasting this year’s target. It seems fair to assume that it was not the number one market in the country, though, given the notable lack of information from regulators. Based on context clues from other markets, we estimate that local bettors wagered between $140 million and $160 million on last year’s game.
Do not expect to see a substantial increase this year.
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Our forecast for New York projects volume to be essentially flat at $152 million and perhaps even show a slight pullback from 2022’s (unknown) total. This outlook reflects a broader lack of growth over the past 12 months along with a reduction in promotional spend from operators, but it still figures to be plenty good enough for the silver medal once again.
Nevada should therefore retain its crown for at least one more year, with books expected to write at least $163 million in tickets for this weekend. It’s not clear if we will ever learn the results of this head-to-head matchup either, but an upset at the top would require a particularly weak showing for Las Vegas. And that seems like a bad bet for a market built around big gambling events like this one.
If New York manages to surpass Nevada this year, however, chances are good we will hear about it.
Ohio the MVP of new betting markets
The Kansas City Chiefs play their home games in Missouri, of course, which does not yet have legal betting. But right across the border sits Kansas, one of the nation’s youngest markets and one with good prospects in its infancy.
Kansas sportsbooks will handle a projected $17.6 million for the big game, creating a favorable comparison to more mature (and more populated) markets like Iowa and Connecticut. That number could conceivably be even higher depending on the contribution of Chiefs-specific bettors.
Super Bowl Sunday will be a big day for the three new in-person sportsbooks in Massachusetts too, but they simply will not move the needle until online betting arrives this spring. Our forecast includes around $7 million in handle, and that might even be too optimistic for this moment in time.
Super Bowl betting in newer states
Meanwhile, the recent addition of online platforms in Maryland changed its outlook substantially. From an estimated $5 million in handle last year, we expect volume to swell to $46.1 million for the 2023 Super Bowl.
Arkansas is in a similar boat with a new online industry poised to perhaps quadruple last year’s retail-only totals — a smallish impact due to the absence of major national brands from the local marketplace. Our target is $3.68 million.
And then there are Ohio sportsbooks, perhaps the biggest unknown on the board. The Buckeye State is fresh off a robust January 1 launch, making this Super Bowl its first with legal betting. It’s definitely going to turn some heads. Our optimistic forecast puts the young market just outside of the top five but challenging for that spot with an impressive $82.6 million in handle for Sunday.
It’s fun to think about what this number might have looked like if the Bengals beat the Chiefs in the AFC Championship.
Eagles impact on bettors in PA, NJ
The Philadelphia Eagles have one of the largest fanbases in the NFL, and they are spread all across the country. They make their headquarters in Eastern Pennsylvania, of course, which figures to create a positive impact on betting interest in the region. South New Jersey is Eagles country too, for that matter.
Again, it is hard to get an exact sense of what that impact will look like as we enter new territory. Simple logic would tell us that having an in-state team to root for in the Super Bowl should correspond to a massive increase in local interest on the game. But it’s difficult to know how much of that boost will actually translate into betting activity.
Our forecast for Super Bowl handle in Pennsylvania reaches $91 million, about 25% more than a model that does not include the Eagles as a factor. That would also represent a big increase from the underwhelming $68.0 million wagered on last year’s game.
New Jersey will meanwhile struggle to surpass its 2022 total of $144 million, as the impact of New York’s launch is simply too much to overcome. The Super Bowl does figure to overperform against recent trends, though, perhaps exceeding $125 million and likely good enough for third place once again.
Arizona hoping host duties pay off
This is another fun one in the category of uncharted waters. How much of an increase in betting will the host state see from Super Bowl 57? Phoenix-area media outlets are, as you might expect, clamoring for a big headline about their state surging to the top of the leaderboard.
Arizona unfortunately did not separate Super Bowl betting in its February report last year, leaving us to guess the numbers. Based on data from other markets and other months, it looks like handle for the game reached $50 million or so in 2022, likely landing between Michigan and Illinois.
The natural maturation of the market along with its position at the center of the NFL universe this week do figure to spark an increase in Super Bowl betting in Arizona. And there’s a high-traffic sportsbook literally on the grounds of State Farm Stadium.
But here again, the betting impact of traveling fans might be smaller than you would expect. These folks have already invested themselves in the game emotionally and financially, and it’s not a foregone conclusion that this specific group will drive a big increase in local betting.
Maybe it will; maybe Arizona will compete for a spot in the top five. Heck, it might even double its numbers from last year. At the very least, we can hold out hope that regulators will give us some data to analyze once the dust settles. For now, our model calculates $63.7 million as the target to reach in Arizona.
Our forecast relies on historical data and estimates from Super Bowl betting in previous years, along with broader trends across these markets. The model takes input from the past two Super Bowls, specifically considering how those numbers have compared to the surrounding months.
Not all markets have historical data for us to rely on, however, so a few of them have been manually calculated using an index of other states and their per-capita performance and trends.
It is also worth noting that individual large bets, perhaps placed by a furniture tycoon, could have a significant and unpredictable impact in isolated markets.
And lastly, in general, we expect to see most competitive markets post small increases amid the broader growth in live- and other non-traditional forms of betting.