History is being made as Nevada’s monopoly on Super Bowl betting is ending, but the Silver State still expects to set a new wagering record on America’s premier sporting event despite new competition from seven other states.
Last year, Super Bowl wagers in Nevada reached $158.5m, beating the previous year’s total by more than $20m.
“I think we will see another record broken on Sunday, and the expansion of legalized sports wagering will not impact our business,” said Michael Lawton, senior research analyst at the Nevada Gaming Control Board.
Overall, Nevada recorded $5bn in sports wagers in 2018 and an all-time record win of $301m, Lawton said.
The new kids on the Super Bowl betting block are: Delaware, Mississippi; New Jersey; New Mexico; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; and West Virginia.
All of those states launched sports betting after the May 14, 2018 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992.
There are 53 land-based sportsbooks in the seven new states accepting bets on the Super Bowl.
As for online betting, New Jersey is offering 11 different apps, including the just-launched Hard Rock and Resorts sites, while Delaware North’s BetLucky is available in West Virginia.
Nick Bogdanovich, director of trading at William Hill in Las Vegas, said the seven new states do not pose an immediate competitive threat because they are relatively far away from Nevada.
“Nevada is pretty insulated, but if California goes full blown on sports gambling, that would really put a dent in us,” Bogdanovich said.
For Allen Godfrey, executive director of the Mississippi Gaming Commission, this weekend is shaping up to be a missed opportunity.
On Wednesday, National Football League (NFL) commissioner Roger Goodell acknowledged NFL officials missed a pass interference call which could have sent the New Orleans Saints to the Super Bowl.
The Saints play in Louisiana and have a huge fan base in neighboring Mississippi.
“Since the Saints did not make it into the Super Bowl, it may not be as big a weekend as it could have been,” Godfrey said.
The decades-long gaming rivalry between Nevada and New Jersey may extend to sports betting as Atlantic City casinos take their first wagers on the Super Bowl.
On January 25, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) approved Hard Rock for a soft launch of sports betting, meaning as many as eight Atlantic City casinos could take wagers on Sunday’s big game.
“The event … should blend the best of the casinos’ gaming and non-gaming amenities,” said Rummy Pandit, executive director of the Lloyd Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality & Tourism at Stockton University.
GamblingCompliance research projects the number of sports-betting states to double in the next year to a total ranging from 16 to 18 by Super Bowl kickoff in 2020.
In January alone, 22 states proposed bills to either authorize sports wagering or expand it.
By comparison, 18 states and the District of Columbia rolled out sports-betting bills in all of 2018.
The January 14 opinion by the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, which raises significant legal questions for internet gambling, “has not slowed the pace of states pursuing legalized sports betting across the country,” Sara Slane, senior vice president of public affairs for the American Gaming Association, said Wednesday.
Currently, the New England Patriots are 3 to 3.5 point favorites over the Los Angeles Rams in the Super Bowl on Sunday in Atlanta, Georgia.
Patriots fans who want to bet on the game can go south to Rhode Island, where two casinos have sportsbooks in operation.
But they may be able to stay home next year because Republican Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts supports sports-betting legislation, having introduced a bill less than two weeks ago.
Each of the other New England states — Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont — are also mulling sports betting.
For the foreseeable future, California gamblers who want to wager on the Rams will have to travel to Nevada, which they seem quite accustomed to doing.
A referendum would be required to legalize sports betting in California, and that could not occur until November 2020 at the earliest.
Additional reporting by James Kilsby.