Sunday’s Big Game is coming with some big bets. The American Gambling Association predicts a record 31.5 million people are getting in on the action, gambling $7.6 billion–a 78% jump from last year–on the Super Bowl.
Legalized online betting is behind the surge. Now 30 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized sports betting in time for Super Bowl LVI. Since last year’s game, 45 million more people are eligible to bet.
Teddy Greenstein, senior editor at PointsBet, joined Straight Arrow News for an interview to break down the changes in the gambling game ahead of Sunday’s showdown between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Los Angeles Rams. (This interview has been edited for length.)
Teddy Greenstein: A lot of states now have legal sports betting. Many states have legal mobile sports betting so people can do it on their phones. So traditionally, the Super Bowl would come and people would just be maybe betting with their friends or certainly in a squares pool and then a lot of people would be using a bookie, but now you can do it legally in a ton of states. So I think that’s why you’re seeing so much more gambling. You don’t have to hop a flight to Vegas to place a legal bet.
Simone Del Rosario: We have Mattress Mack that’s setting this record-setting $4.5 million dollar bet on the Bengals for them to win the Super Bowl, all over a smartphone. How does that kind of access online and app betting really change the game?
Teddy Greenstein: Yeah, it’s just so convenient. And, you know, there are not a lot of Mattress Macks in the world. So for 99.99% of the people, what I think they’re doing is they’re turning on a sporting event–could be an NBA game, could be a golf tournament, could be tennis or of course, could be the Super Bowl. And they are hopefully looking at PointsBet and they are seeing all of our options. Traditionally, also, all of the bets had to be placed before the game. Now live betting is absolutely huge. And the majority of our handle comes from live betting. So you can just turn on a golf tournament at any time and say, oh, Jordan Spieth is 14-1 to win at Pebble Beach, I’m going to jump in.
Simone Del Rosario: You talk about increasing access to betting. So many states are legalizing. Ohio has a hometown team in the Super Bowl yet they can’t place bets there yet. How much is the state losing out by delaying that process?
Teddy Greenstein: If you’re going to compare Ohio, look at a state like Pennsylvania — obviously border state, somewhat similar there — and Pennsylvania has had incredible growth. So the state made a profit of $4.7 billion in 2021. And $1.9 billion of that went to the state in terms of tax revenue. So when you’re talking about almost $2 billion, that’s the potential per year.
Simone Del Rosario: What are the most popular or the biggest bets that you’re seeing leading up to Sunday’s game?
Teddy Greenstein: We start with our core markets, which is basically spread, money line, which is just who’s going to win the game, and total, which most people know is the over under, how many points are going to be scored in the game. Then you have a zillion secondary markets, which is like, how many yards will Joe Burrow throw for to will Joe Mixon score a touchdown?…And then you have these novelty props, which are so fun, which is like, what’s the color of Gatorade that’ll be in the Gatorade shower? Orange is the leader there. And then you have the coin toss, things like that.
Simone Del Rosario: Between greater access to all of this, being able to do it from our palms, and being able to do live in-game betting, which feels a little bit more urgent, what’s the secret with all of this in being a responsible gambler? And are there concerns that more legalization and more access are going to lead to more addiction?
Teddy Greenstein: It’s a great question. And people just have to understand, they have to look at betting as the cost of entertainment. They have to think of it like, ‘This is going to enhance my enjoyment of watching the game.’ And then if they win, it’s a bonus, but never bet more than you can afford to lose and be prepared to lose.