Feb 10, 2023 - Sports

This Super Bowl is the first in a state with legal sports betting

Sports betting laws, by state
Data: American Gaming Association; Cartogram: Axios Visuals

For the first time ever, the Super Bowl is being held in a state where sports betting is legal — and at a stadium with its own sportsbook.

Why it matters: The milestone game at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, represents America's — and the NFL's — vastly evolved stance on gambling.

State(s) of play: Arizona is one of 33 states (plus Washington, D.C.) with a live, legal sports betting market. It ranks 10th in total handle (wagers accepted) among all states since PASPA was overturned in 2018, per Legal Sports Report.

The top 10:

  1. New Jersey ($33.7B)
  2. Nevada ($29.5B)
  3. Pennsylvania ($18.9B)
  4. Illinois ($17.6B)
  5. New York ($16.7B)
  6. Indiana ($10.5B)
  7. Colorado ($10.2B)
  8. Michigan ($8.9B)
  9. Virginia ($8.1B)
  10. Arizona ($7.2B)

The intrigue: 50.4 million U.S. adults are expected to wager $16 billion on Super Bowl LVII, per the American Gaming Association. Both figures are roughly double last year's record tally.

  • Some of those bets will be placed at the BetMGM Sportsbook on the State Farm Stadium grounds.
  • It's one of 11 in-venue sportsbooks across the country and the first (of two) at an NFL stadium.

The big picture: The NFL has come a long way from being the league that once banned players from appearing at an offseason fantasy football event in Las Vegas.

  • Its reservations were rooted in a fear of match-fixing, but once PASPA was overturned and the nationwide attitude began to change, the NFL embraced betting as much as any league.
  • In 2021 alone, the NFL inked deals with Caesars Entertainment, DraftKings and FanDuel to be its official sports betting partners, as well as additional agreements with BetMGM, FOX Bet, PointsBet and WynnBet.

And frankly, the league should be thrilled by the sea change: 34% of fans say the expansion of legal sports betting has made games more exciting.

What we're watching: There's no one-size-fits-all approach to legal sports betting markets. Here's a brief snapshot of some differences nationwide, courtesy of our Axios Local coverage:

  • Arkansas legalized in-person sports betting back in 2018, but only began taking mobile wagers last March, per Axios NW Arkansas.
  • In Washington, gambling is limited to those on the premises of a tribal casino — a restriction some are pushing to change, per Axios Seattle.
  • North Carolina also only allows sports betting at tribal casinos, but lawmakers are expected to push for the legalization of mobile wagering soon, per Axios Raleigh.
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