Las Vegas Super Bowl could see record number of bettors

Super Bowl Las Vegas
Image: Marcus E Jones / Shutterstock

The first-ever Super Bowl in Las Vegas could set a new record for sports bettors.

According to the American Gaming Association (AGA), a record 67.8 million Americans could wager on Super Bowl LVIII on Sunday between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers. The estimated figure of potential bettors would be a 35% increase compared to Super Bowl LVII.

“As the Super Bowl comes to Las Vegas for the first time, this year’s record interest in wagering marks a full circle moment for the U.S. gaming industry,” said AGA President and CEO Bill Miller. “Our priority remains getting this opportunity right by providing the consumer protections only a regulated market can guarantee and investing in responsible gambling tools, safeguards, and education.”

Football-crazed Americans are projected to wager $23.1 billion on Sunday’s game, which is up from the $16 billion wagered on last year’s matchup between the Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles.

The uptick in wagering partially stems from the emergence of new gaming markets in 2023, including Ohio, Massachusetts, and Kentucky. The addition of those jurisdictions expanded the U.S. sports betting market to 38 states. In those markets, 42.7 million Americans plan to place an online or retail wager while 36.5 million people plan to bet with friends or part of a pool.

Sunday’s Super Bowl in Las Vegas is poised to be competitive, which is evident in the game’s handle. As of Feb. 6, 47% of eligible bettors plan to wager on the Chiefs while 44% of plan to bet on the 49ers. The 49ers have emerged as a slight favorite ahead of Sunday’s game.

The potential record-setting Super Bowl comes amid a spike in NFL gambling-related incidents.

Earlier this week, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell addressed media on several issues impacting the league, including a recent string of player and personnel suspensions. The NFL, which had previously distanced itself from the gaming industry, saw more than four players suspended throughout the 2023 season for various violations of the league’s gambling policy.

As a result, the NFL revised its policy to thwart excessive punishments and lack of clarity.