Americans bet an estimated $6bn (€5.2bn) on last night’s Super Bowl according to a survey by the American Gaming Association (AGA).
The survey, conducted ahead of the game on behalf of the AGA by Morning Consult, indicated that nearly one in 10 Americans, or approximately 22.7 million people, planned to place a bet on the game between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams.
The legalisation of sports betting in certain states has most likely driven the increase over last year’s game where an estimated $4.76bn was wagered.
Last May a Supreme Court ruling struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) which had prohibited gambling in most states.
“To make a legal bet, you have to be in one of the seven states, or the District of Columbia, where gambling has already been legalised,” sports and media lawyer Irwin Raij, co-chair of the Sports Industry Group at O’Melveny, told SportBusiness.
States including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Nevada are already offering the ability to bet on sports, including the Super Bowl. Raij said he expected up to twelve more to legalise betting in 2019.
“Those states are already seeing sizable tax revenue gains in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision last year,” he added. “Super Bowl Sunday should add a healthy inflow to these state coffers and we can expect others to pass their own betting laws to try and take advantage of this potential new tax revenue stream.”
Raij, who has advised on numerous major sports transactions, including the record $2.2bn acquisition of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers, said that the upswing in betting activity was already having a positive impact on viewership and would ultimately increase franchise values.
“There are high expectations that long-term media viewership in every sport will trend upward. NFL viewership alone is already up 4-5 per cent this year — an increase we might partially attribute to the gambling ruling,” he said.
“The real test, and ultimate benefit, is still down the road. Gambling revenue should lead to the next leap in franchise valuations, which will become apparent once the first team is sold after gambling revenue data is factored in.”