Betting on sports has been around for years. Today the process has reached new heights, as fans can place bets using the internet from the comfort of their own homes. The number of sports and events that fans gamble on is long, with the NFL being right at the top of that list. No single event is bigger than the Super Bowl when it comes to gambling. The biggest sporting event of the year, the Super Bowl has a history of bringing in a large number of bets. The amount of money bet on this game, both legal and illegal, is much more than most people realize.
The Super Bowl is a global event, therefore betting on this event takes place worldwide. According to the Nevada Gaming Commission, this single event has as much or more gambling done on it as the entire NCAA basketball tournament. The amount bet on the Super Bowl appears to increase with each passing year. More money was bet in Nevada on Super Bowl 50 than any other Super Bowl. In 2016 there was an amazing $132,545,587 bet on the Super Bowl. The majority of bets favored the Panthers and the over, the Broncos winning/covering against the spread and the total staying under which was the ideal situation for books. The final result lead to a total combined return of 10.1% or $13.3 million.
The amount of money wagered on the Super Bowl has increased with nearly each passing year. In 1991, the amount wagered on the game was just a little over 40 million with the return being about 8%. Fast forward to 2004, and the wagered amount has more than doubled to more than 81 million dollars with a 15% return. As a matter of fact, since 1991, the amount wagered has only dropped twice, 2007-2008 and 2008-2009. It is interesting to note these were years of financial crisis in the United States. Things quickly fixed themselves. The last three Super Bowls have each had well over 100 million dollars in wagers.
Of course this is legal betting. There is a lot of illegal betting that goes on each year surrounding the Super Bowl. In 2015 the Super Bowl saw more than three and a half billion dollars in wagers placed. These wagers were mostly illegal in nature. Some experts estimate that there is nearly 40 times more illegal betting done on the Super Bowl each year. AGA estimates that even more illegal gambling was done with last years Super Bowl between the Panthers and Broncos. Approximately 4.2 billion dollars was wagered illegally according to AGA. It’s clear that current betting laws are not scaring off potential gamblers as the numbers appear to increase year to year.
Clearly the Super Bowl is the most sought after event for gamblers. With each passing year the amount wagered increase by both legal and illegal methods. Although sports in general produces a large number of gamblers, no event can quite compare to the height of the Super Bowl.