With sports betting legal in Arizona, Super Bowl 57 could be record-setter for wagers

José M. Romero
Arizona Republic
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The BetMGM Sportsbook opened for business during the season opener between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Arizona Cardinals on the Great Lawn outside of State Farm Stadium.

Corrections & Clarifications: A previous version of this article gave an incorrect date reference for the Super Bowl.

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Nothing comes close to the Super Bowl when it comes to the single sporting event that generates the most bets in the United States. Super Bowl 57 is in line to set a record for most money wagered on the king of all American sporting events.

The amount could reach $700 million for the Super Bowl alone, one expert believes, with somewhere around a billion dollars wagered on all sports combined in Arizona in the month of February.

With the game being played in Glendale this month, it marks the first time the Super Bowl will take place in a state that offers legal sports betting.

"This absolutely does change things. You're going to have just a lot of casual fans, a lot of people coming in state that aren't able to bet where they live," said Matt McEwan, editor-in-chief at Sports Betting Dime. "So Arizona is going to have a massive opportunity to pull in, I mean, just an enormous Super Bowl betting handle here."

That means potentially big business for sportsbooks in the Phoenix area and around the state. Those with Super Bowl tickets will be able to place bets in person at the BetMGM Sportsbook, only a few steps away from one of the main entrances to State Farm Stadium.

Anyone planning on going to a brick-and-mortar sportsbook such as the FanDuel facility at Footprint Center, the Caesars site at Chase Field — where there will be a customized Caesars 18-wheeler equipped with a 1,000 square feet betting wall — or any of the casinos and licensed sites should plan to get there early on Super Bowl Sunday to get a seat. Betting on the game result itself is one thing, but the side or prop bets that will be sanctioned are designed to make the betting experience more interesting.

"Legalized sports betting offers fans additional ways to engage with the game," said NFL communications executive Alex Riethmiller, via email. "The Super Bowl typically has more prop bets than other NFL games, and the expansion of online sports betting makes wagering during the game easier for fans, who can place bets on their phones."

A member of the staff checks one of the self-service betting stations during the grand opening day of the Caesars Sportsbook at Chase Field in Phoenix on June 21, 2022. senior betting analyst Bill Speros says Phoenix area sportsbooks could resemble the scene in Las Vegas on Super Bowl Sunday.

"Retail books will likely see all their space reserved far in advance. And most of the good seats could well already have been set aside for the largest bettors and other VIPs," Speros said.

After the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals took part in last year's Super Bowl, ESPN reported that nearly a dozen states reported a combined $500 million in bets on the game.

Sports betting isn't legal in California, where Super Bowl 56 was held. That won't be the case this year and next, when Super Bowl 58 is played at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.

Watershed moment

In 2018 the Supreme Court removed the federal ban on sports betting, allowing states to legalize it if they choose. Since May of that year, 36 states now offer some form of legal U.S. sports betting either in person or online, with Arizona joining that group when live betting was launched in September 2021.

According to Sportsbook Review, Americans went from wagering $44 billion in 2021 to $74 billion in 2022, a 70 percent increase.

Until 2018, the NFL worked hard to distance itself from betting. But the league has done a complete about-face with the big money involved. When the Oakland Raiders became the Las Vegas Raiders, there was no getting away from the gambling aspect, with giant casinos and sportsbooks only steps away from where the Raiders play.

"Since that decision was handed down, it was kind of off to the races. You've also seen leagues like the NFL become much more comfortable with doing business with sportsbook operators," said Geoff Zochodne, sports betting industry analyst with, a sports betting information website. "So the NFL itself now has official partnerships with sportsbook operators, like DraftKings, like FanDuel, they've really kind of put their past opposition to an expansion of sports betting to the side. And they've gotten on board with the notion of a regulated market."

DraftKings, Fan Duel and Caesars Sportsbook are the official partners of the NFL.

"Our partners continue to innovate and remain committed to offering best-in-class products and experiences for our fans. This includes a broad range of betting markets to choose from, including an expansive list of prop bets and world-class functionality for in-play bets and parlays," Riethmiller said.  "Our partners use our Official Data feed, which offers the fastest, most reliable data for our fans. "

Monitoring prop bets

It's advisable to check on the official Super Bowl prop bets when they are released, one betting expert says. Beyond the final score, the point spread, the over/under and individual statistics, there are smaller bets that have to do with outcomes within the game.

Which team will be the first to score? Which team will win the coin toss? How long will the national anthem take to be sung? What color of Gatorade will be dumped on the victorious head coach?

"Even if you’re a casual observer it’s good practice to simply observe the props from when they’re first posted to where they end up on Super Bowl Sunday itself," said Pat Morrow, head oddsmaker for the online sportsbook Bovada, via email. "The large movement of these odds tell a story that should be instructive as both where liabilities may be but also where the public is overloaded on a side. Something that’s often true in betting sports but also very much so for the Super Bowl is that there’s often value betting on the boring outcomes to occur."

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson  dumps Gatorade on coach Pete Carroll late in Super Bowl XLVIII against the Denver Broncos on Feb. 2, 2014, in East Rutherford, N.J. Seattle won 43-8. The bets are on for the color of this year's triumphant Gatorade shower.

Morrow said close to half of the betting handle taken in from the Super Bowl will be from prop bets.

The sports betting companies are coming out with offers for first-time bettors in a big way, knowing the Super Bowl is the game most wagered on. It's their chance to entice a new customer to make bets with house money, so to speak, and offer credits for future bets to keep the rookie bettors coming back.

Arizonans would, before a year and a half ago, have to travel to Las Vegas or bet with offshore sportsbooks when it came to the Super Bowl or events of its magnitude. Now they can stay home.

"For those interested but have never dabbled, this will likely make them feel more comfortable placing that very first bet. And for those that have been betting on sports long before this decision it will give them far more options as to how they wish to participate in the sports betting marketplace," Morrow said.

Who is the big winner?

So who wins with the Super Bowl being a state with legalized sports betting? Pretty much everyone. Arizona's economy, the sports books, new bettors with less risk, winning bettors, even the NFL.

McEwan said two teams from where sports betting is legal, which would be the Cincinnati Bengals and Philadelphia Eagles, would help the state of Arizona.

"Now who stands to gain the most? Probably Arizona, either Arizona or the sportsbooks. Right? But what you could see in Arizona is a lot of promo dollars handed out to people. Maybe they only use those back credits while they're in state. They go back home and you know, I do nothing from it from there," McEwan said. "The NFL stands to benefit from this, too, though, and the fact that people aren't going to tune out if it's a blowout. With more betting in, you're going to keep people in the stands."

Help available: If you or someone you know have a gambling problem, there are ways to get assistance, including the Arizona Department of Gaming's Problem Gambling, the Arizona Council on Compulsive Gambling and Gamblers Anonymous.

National Council on Problem Gambling Arizona site,

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