23.2 Million Americans Will Bet $4.3bn on the Super Bowl, AGA Estimates

  • Figures are based on an AGA-commissioned survey held around the end of January
  • CEO Miller anticipates “the largest single-event legal handle in American sports betting history”
  • Record numbers of bettors are set to move away from illegal bookies to legal sportsbooks
  • The association expects the COVID-19 situation to lead to a drop in retail and casual betting
  • Of the respondents surveyed, 56% will be siding with the Kansas City Chiefs this Sunday
  • 36 million more Americans can bet this year as new states have legalized sports betting
Super Bowl Sunday fireworks
The AGA estimates that 23.2 million Americans will place bets on Super Bowl LV, collectively wagering $4.3bn. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

A massive event for sportsbooks

The American Gaming Association (AGA) estimates that 23.2 million Americans will be wagering a cumulative $4.3bn on Super Bowl LV. 7.6 million will place wagers through online sportsbooks, indicating a 63% year-on-year increase in online betting activity.

The AGA tweeted out details of its research on Tuesday in advance of Sunday’s big game:

The published estimates stem from a survey that market research company Morning Consult conducted online on behalf of the association between January 25 and January 27.

Great expectations

Speaking about the significance of the upcoming sporting event for US betting handle, AGA CEO and president Bill Miller said: “This year’s Super Bowl is expected to generate the largest single-event legal handle in American sports betting history.” He also noted that record numbers of people are moving away from using illegal bookies and entering the legal marketplace. 

the largest single-event legal handle in American sports betting history”

Despite the significant number of people set to bet on the game between defending Super Bowl champions the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, total wagers on the event are set to decline. The AGA believes the COVID-19 pandemic will lead to a drop in retail sports betting handle and less casual forms of betting.

The Super Bowl is one of the biggest sporting events contributing to annual betting handle in the US.

Last year, Americans reportedly wagered almost $270m at legal sportsbooks on the NFL’s season closer. The AGA had estimated that about 26 million Americans would bet on the 2020 Super Bowl.

Transitioning to legal options

Just 1.4 million Americans are considering placing an in-person bet on the Super Bowl, a drop of 61% year-on-year. Only 1.8 million people are planning on using an illegal bookie, representing a 21% decline in unregulated wagers from last year. 

a 21% decline in unregulated wagers

About 11.9 million people plan to place bets with friends, or 18% fewer than in 2020. Survey respondents favored the Chiefs, with 56% planning to back the defending champions. Neither of the teams in the big game have their homes in states that currently have legal sports betting.

According to the AGA-commissioned research, Americans appear to prefer using legal sportsbooks, with 65% of respondents saying that using a legit betting site is important to them. A lot more people have also had more exposure to messages relating to responsible gambling over the past year.

Speaking about this positive trend, AGA CEO Miller said: “This data is an encouraging sign that our efforts to ground the expansion of sports betting in responsible gaming is taking hold.”

A wave of sports betting expansion

Since the last Super Bowl in February 2020, an additional 36 million American adults now have access to legal sports betting in their states. The seven jurisdictions to go live in the intervening period were Colorado, Michigan, Illinois, Tennessee, Montana, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.

In all, 25 states have made sports betting legal, with a handful of these locations yet to go live. In addition, 13 states now have legislation – either in the pre-filing stage or currently active – that would legalize sports betting. 

The expansion of the legal market saw nationwide legal sports betting handle total more than $21bn last year, a considerable increase from $13bn in 2019. As a result of this unprecedented level of wagering activity, local and state taxes exceeded $210m in 2020. 

Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the AGA is confident that the US gaming industry will start recovering in 2021. Key factors in this revival will be the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines and increasing consumer confidence.

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