Less than five years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled all states can legalize sports betting, the country’s premier sporting event — the Super Bowl — will be played on Sunday (February 12) in a state offering lawful sports wagering for the first time.
“It is an honor to lead the [Arizona] Department [of Gaming] through this important milestone and the agency continues to work closely with our industry stakeholders, including the National Football League (NFL), to provide world-class sports-betting regulation throughout the state,” Ted Vogt, director of the Arizona Department of Gaming, told VIXIO GamblingCompliance.
Arizona did not begin regulating sports bets until September 2021, but since then, the state’s gaming division estimates wagering handle as $7.2bn.
As impressive as Arizona’s sports-betting history has been so far, perhaps even more significant to the gaming industry will be the location of the Super Bowl in 2024 — the gambling capital of the world, Las Vegas, Nevada.
Sunday’s game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles for the NFL championship will be played a little more than 280 miles southeast of Las Vegas in Glendale, Arizona.
“It was unimaginable a decade ago, and next year, it’s going to happen — the Super Bowl in Las Vegas,” said Joe Asher, president of sports betting at International Game Technology (IGT).
“It’s just amazing how times have changed,” Asher told VIXIO GamblingCompliance in an email.
Asher, 55, said he is old enough to remember when the gaming industry was not even allowed to advertise on telecasts of the Super Bowl “because it would somehow be a taint” on the NFL.
“Now we’re going to have [former New England Patriot star tight end] Rob Gronkowski attempt to kick a field goal for FanDuel, and next year, the game will be held a short walk from [MGM Resorts Las Vegas casino] Mandalay Bay,” he said.
Twenty percent of American adults, or about 50.4m, are expected to wager an estimated $16bn on the Super Bowl this year through regulated sportsbooks, casually and with unregulated bookmakers, according to the American Gaming Association.
That will be a 61 percent increase over last year, and a new record.
“The Super Bowl is always a big weekend in Las Vegas, but having the game here [in 2024] will just take it to another level,” Asher said.
Jay Kornegay, executive vice president of Superbook Sports Operations at the Westgate Resort & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip, said city leaders already have begun planning and strategizing to prepare for next year’s Super Bowl at Allegiant Stadium, home of the NFL franchise Las Vegas Raiders.
“I’m sure many [Las Vegas] officials are in Arizona this week to observe the events,” Kornegay said. “The city of Las Vegas was made to host the Super Bowl and we’ll have our A Game on display [in 2024].”
Nevada saw $136m in total bets on the Super Bowl in 2021, and a new record of $179m last year, according to Kornegay.
When the Super Bowl comes to Las Vegas in 2024, betting totals “will be off the charts,” he said.