Nevada -- and offshore sportsbooks -- may longer have a corner on Super Bowl betting in 2019
Legal Sports Report

Will Americans Be Able To Bet On The Super Bowl Legally Next Time Around?

Super Bowl LII betting

Super Bowl LII between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots could be the last one where betting on it is illegal in 49 states.

While Nevada remains the only state where you can legally put a wager on the outcome of the NFL’s biggest game, that may change in a big way in 2018.

The federal sports betting case looms

We didn’t get a verdict on Monday from the US Supreme Court in the New Jersey sports betting case, one of several possible dates on which the case could have been decided this year. But a decision is due before the calendar turns to July.

And a win for New Jersey saying the federal sports betting ban — PASPA — is unconstitutional would have very real ramifications for other states. Many jurisdictions are lining up to pass laws that allows for legal and regulated sports wagering.

Pennsylvania and New York are the main states already set to join New Jersey, should it win in the nation’s highest court. PA sports betting could happen as soon as this year.

We don’t know how SCOTUS will rule. But many legal analysts believe oral arguments in December went very well for NJ. And if New Jersey does win, that means Super Bowl wagering could be legal in a wide variety of states by next February.

We know betting on the Super Bowl happens anyway

Despite the fact that sports betting is “illegal” in most of the US, that won’t stop Americans from putting a lot of money on the outcome.

According to the American Gaming Association, the amount people in the US will bet on the Super Bowl eclipses $5 billion annually — most of it wagered at sites operating in the US illegally.

The amount of money actually wagered is a hard number to get to — after all there’s little insight into what offshore online sportsbooks are actually doing. Regardless, it points to the silliness of a federal ban that is largely ineffective and only serves to send revenue for gaming companies and states offshore.

And in the meantime, legal alternatives are turning up in the US. DraftKings will offer a single-game fantasy contests for real money — called Showdown — based only on the Super Bowl. And you can play for real money with an app called WinView by making predictions based on the game.

Will things be different for Super Bowl LIII?

If we were laying odds on legal single-game wagering happening in the US and outside of Nevada for Super Bowl LIII, it would currently be a favorite. How much of a favorite is a matter for debate.

But the days of Americans needing to go to Nevada casinos or offshore sportsbooks to wager on the Super Bowl appear to be nearly over.

Dustin Gouker
- Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner.
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