Oct 18, 2022 - Sports
Glendale LVII

Glendale LVII: Place your bets at first Super Bowl with legal wagering

Illustration of a poker chip shaped like a football

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Next year's Super Bowl will have a unique distinction — it will be the first time the big game has been held in a jurisdiction with legal sports wagering.

Context: Arizona legalized sports betting in 2021, and its first sportsbooks opened later that year.

  • The state's 25 in-person locations, at arenas, Indian casinos and bars, could be flooded with visitors in February for the Super Bowl. Sixteen of them are in the Phoenix metro area.

What they're saying: "It just provides more reason for out-of-state tourists to come and visit," Max Hartgraves, a spokesperson for the Arizona Department of Gaming, tells Axios.

Yes, but: About 99% of all bets in Arizona are placed via mobile apps.

  • Those apps use geofencing to ensure that people outside the state can't place bets from jurisdictions where sports wagering is illegal.
  • Super Bowl visitors will be able to download and use the apps while they're in town for the big game.

State of play: Yes, this will be the first February game surrounded by legal wagering. But that doesn't present any particular challenges for the gaming department, Hartgraves says, because it will largely be "business as usual."

  • Hartgraves says the agency hasn't had any discussions with the NFL specifically about betting but it has an open line of communication with the league, along with other organizations that monitor sports betting.
  • The NFL has no concerns about holding its first Super Bowl in a jurisdiction with legal sports wagering, a source familiar with the league's thinking tells Axios.

By the numbers: The department doesn't track betting by individual sports or events, but $491 million worth of wagers were placed in February this year.

Of note: The 2024 Super Bowl will be in Las Vegas, so the presence of legalized sports wagering doesn't appear to be much of a concern.

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