Sports Bettors Are In For The Biggest Weekend of Their Lives (So Far) – The Average Joe

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    Sports Bettors Are In For The Biggest Weekend of Their Lives (So Far)

    Noah Weidner

    February 9, 2024

    What do you get when you put the Super Bowl, Vegas, and Taylor Swift together? A sports betting platform’s dream come true — and also what will likely be the biggest event of the year. This Sunday’s Super Bowl will be the first to be hosted in Vegas, the world’s gambling capital — and it’s expected to appreciate from a Taylor Swift-sized boost in viewership, which could attract a fresh set of eyes and potentially draw in new bettors as well.

    Despite patchy Super Bowl viewership in recent years, one aspect has seen significant growth: betting. Ever since the US Supreme Court overturned a federal ban on sports betting in 2018, 38 states have given it the green light, leading Americans to wager over $300B legally on sports events.

    All-in on red: According to the American Gaming Association, this year’s Super Bowl is expected to be the “biggest single-game betting event in US history,” with a projected $23.1B in bets placed during the game, up 35% from last year.

    • A record 67.8M (26%) US adults are expected to place bets through retail sportsbooks or illegal channels, a 3x increase since the 2019 Super Bowl, the first legal sports betting year.
    • That would represent more than 7% of all legally placed sports bets since the Supreme Court’s landmark decision.

    The dark side of betting (and those benefiting)

    The wide appeal of sports betting has propped up industry leaders like FanDuel (NYSE:FLUT), which recently went public in the US, and DraftKings (NASDAQ: DKNG), up 17% and 21% this year, respectively. The opportunity has even changed the minds of Disney’s ESPN, which recently launched its own Sportsbook with PENN Entertainment.

    • According to Eilers & Krejcik Gaming analyst Chris Grove, “There’s a good chance that every Super Bowl for the next ten or so years will be the most bet Super Bowl thanks to the underlying growth of regulated sports betting in the US.”
    • Even short seller Jim Chanos turned bullish on sportsbooks — citing strong numbers and bad bettors who are increasingly making “really bad-odds bets.”

    The house always wins: According to The Guardian, gambling addiction has spiked in the US, particularly among young people — causing calls to some gambling helplines to double since legalization. And even when you win, some bookies won’t pay out that easily. The Washington Post recently reported that Hard Rock Bet voided three successful wagers worth $127K, demonstrating that even when bettors win, big unregulated sportsbooks might still find ways to make them lose.

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