Billions of dollars are wagered on the Super Bowl this year. It is a total that has been trending upward every year for decades. This year it is estimated that the amount of money being wagered will exceed $4.5 billion. And that amount only represents money that will be wagered legally. The amount bet using illegal bookmakers could be just as high. These totals reflect not only viewer interest in the game, but also the growth in sports betting in the United States as well. For many people, legal super bowl betting is just a fun pastime and a way to show support interest, and belief in their favorite team and their understanding of the sport. For others its strictly business.
Betting on the Super Bowl is big business. Wagers on the outcome of the game are placed by people all over the planet. Information on Super Bowl picks, odds, and point spreads are available on radio, television, newspapers, and thousands of gaming websites, not to mention casinos in Las Vegas and worldwide. It seems like each year a growing number of people have more than just a rooting interest in the big game. They have money on the line based on the outcome. The growing total amount of money wagered on the game seeming to reflect not only a rise in global interest in American football, but also a growing acceptance of sports betting as well.
Of course wagering on sporting events is nothing new. Betting on the outcome of games has probably been going on ever since sports were first invented. But the amount of money bet legally and illegally on the Super Bowl is a little surprising when you consider American football is primarily only played in America. But as interest globally in football has spread over the past 50 years, so too has betting on the Super Bowl. In many places where people barely know the difference between Cam Newton and Isaac Newton, people are plunking down millions of dollars on the outcome of the Super Bowl.
American football has grown from a niche sport played by ‘Yanks’ into a sport watched by untold millions of people worldwide. And as interest in the game has grown, so has the amount of money wagered on the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl is ‘must see’ T.V in the U.S., and for a lot of people it is also a way to make a quick buck while they enjoy the game. While the average American football fan may just bet a few bucks with their friends on the outcome of the game, for the gambling industry the Super Bowl is one of the biggest pay days of the year because as most gamblers know, ultimately the house always wins.
For many people, wagering on the Super Bowl is a simple matter of putting down their money on Team A in hopes that it will defeat Team B. But for more sophisticated betters it goes much deeper than that. One team not only has to beat the other, but they must do so by a specific number of points for the bettor to win. Another type of betting on the Super Bowl that generates tens of millions of dollars is what’s called ‘Prop’ bets. These are bets that specific things will happen in the game. People bet on everything from the outcome of the coin toss to how many times Peyton Manning will shout ‘Omaha’ during the game. There are also bets on the total number of points that will be scored and whether or not those points will be over or under a certain total.
All these types of bets generate increased fan interest in every aspect of the game. It also generates millions of dollars in gambling revenue. As the types of bets on the Super Bowl have grown over the years, so too has the amount of money wagered on it. While the NFL doesn’t encouraging betting on the Super Bowl, they have to be thrilled about the increased global interest in the game. The league has been working hard in recent years to make the NFL a more global brand. It seems betting on the Super Bowl has beat the NFL itself into consciousness of people worldwide. With the prevalence on online betting, people living anywhere in the world that have an internet connection can bet on the game.
Just 20 years ago in the 1995 Super Bowl, people wagered an estimated $70 million. Since that time the amount bet on the game has been increasing steadily. This year when the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos clash in Super Bowl 50 it is estimated that over $8 billion, and potentially much more when illegal betting is factored in, will be bet on the game.