Americans Want Legal Sports Betting, as Super Bowl 53 Kicks Off

Posted on: February 2, 2019, 02:00h. 

Last updated on: February 1, 2019, 11:41h.

Sixty-three percent of US adults support the sports betting decision the US Supreme Court made last year that struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). That’s according to a new study commissioned by the American Gaming Association (AGA), which also found that eight out of 10 Americans endorse legalizing gambling on sports.

sports betting Super Bowl odds
Quarterbacks Jared Goff (left) and Tom Brady will battle in Super Bowl 53, the first big game in US history where legal sports betting will occur outside of Nevada. (Image: Brett Davis/USA TODAY Sports)

The poll comes just before Super Bowl 53 between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams kicks off in Atlanta, Georgia.

Since the PASPA repeal, seven states – Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, West Virginia, Mississippi, and New Mexico – have joined Nevada in permitting full-scale sports betting. It means more gamblers will have regulated sportsbooks to place their bets on the big game this weekend.

The point spread in Las Vegas has remained stagnant in the week leading up to Super Bowl 53. The Patriots are still spotting the underdog Rams 2.5 points.

State of States

The AGA says this time next year, there will be many more jurisdictions with legalized sports betting. According to the gaming industry’s leading lobbying group, half of the 50 states will have – or be considering – sports betting this year.

It’s a conservative projection. In addition to the eight states with sports betting up and running, 26 state legislatures have introduced legislation to regulate the gambling activity. New York and Arkansas have already passed sports betting laws, but operations have yet to commence.

The results of this research are overwhelmingly clear: consumers want legal sports betting, they believe it should be regulated by state and tribal governments, and they don’t think the leagues should get a cut,” AGA Senior VP Sara Slane declared.

“This weekend, 23 million Americans will wager a staggering $6 billion on the Super Bowl. To put that in perspective, Americans will bet around the same amount on this one event as they bet legally in all of 2018,” Slane explained.

Indeed, oddsmakers in Nevada, the largest sports betting state in America, took a record $5 billion in bets last year. The NFL and college football accounted for $1.8 billion of the wagers.

Patriots or Rams

Numerous Las Vegas oddsmakers believe the Rams are the better team, at least on paper. But the majority of the action has been on the Patriots, which has forced them to keep Los Angeles the underdog.

ESPN’s Matchup Predictor, which projects outcomes based on 10,000 computer simulations, says Los Angeles will win the Super Bowl 52.4 percent of the time.

But experience is tough to factor in. And the Patriots have plenty of it. Quarterback Tom Brady is seeking a record sixth Super Bowl ring, the most by any player.

FiveThirtyEight, the online prediction site of statistician Nate Silver, says the Patriots have a 53 percent chance of winning Super Bowl 53.