Feb 10, 2023 - News

Arizona makes sports betting history

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, Axios' Jeff Tracy and Kendall Baker report.

Why it matters: The milestone game at State Farm Stadium 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 wagers accepted among all states since the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PAPSA) was overturned in 2018, per Legal Sports Report.

The top 10:

  • New Jersey ($33.7B)
  • Nevada ($29.5B)
  • Pennsylvania ($18.9B)
  • Illinois ($17.6B)
  • New York ($16.7B)
  • Indiana ($10.5B)
  • Colorado ($10.2B)
  • Michigan ($8.9B)
  • Virginia ($8.1B)
  • 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 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 in 2015 banned players from appearing at an offseason fantasy football event in Las Vegas.

  • The league's 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.
  • In 2021 alone, the NFL inked deals with Caesars Entertainment, DraftKings and FanDuel to be its official sports betting partners, and 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.

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