Looking Back on the Record Setting Super Bowl LIV

Over $250 Million Was Bet Legally on Super Bowl LIV

If you’ve been reading any of our articles, you know that we’re extremely happy to see legal sports betting take off here at ScoreMetrics.

In our special report on the current legal status of sports betting in the US, we concluded that 14 states already have legal sports betting markets in operation. Today, we’ll take a look back at how the increased availability of sports betting markets showed in terms of money wagered in the latest and biggest event in sports: Super Bowl LIV.

And with over $250 million legally wagered around the country, it sure was a big day for bookmakers!

Vegas is still king

The Super Bowl is obviously the biggest single sporting event of the year, and that also shows up in the amount of money wagered in the game.

The 54th Super Bowl attracted an incredible $154.7 million wagered in the state of Nevada, according to the Nevada gaming control board. That’s roughly about 60% of the total that was reported in the whole country.

This was the second-highest handle (total dollar amount of bets taken) in the history of Super Bowl wagering in Nevada, falling just a little short of the $158.6 million wagered in 2018.

The sportsbooks in Nevada, led by Vegas, reported a collective profit of $18.8 million from the game. This was also their second-highest number ever, after the $19.7 million profit that was reported for the 2014 Super Bowl.

Vegas credited their big payday to a couple of factors. First, the close proximity of San Francisco led to a lot of 49ers fans travelling to Nevada to place bets for their team. Vegas was heavy on 49ers money, so the Chiefs’ win was big for them.

Second, the public was playing the over for the game, which was expected to be a high-scoring affair. At a total of 51 points scored, many bettors were left licking their wounds with the line opening at 52.5 and ending up at 53.5.

New Jersey leads the rest of the pack

New Jersey’s sportsbooks came in second with a $54.2 million handle for Super Bowl LIV, up handsomely from $34.8 million from the previous year. Both retail and mobile sportsbooks saw a lot of action in the Garden State, as did the bookmakers and racetracks in Atlantic City.

But perhaps surprisingly, New Jersey’s sportsbooks reported a collective loss of $4.28 million for the Super Bowl. The state’s Division of Gaming Enforcement did not offer a breakdown of the betting activity.

As a side-note, New Jersey’s bookmakers recently reported a huge start to their year with $540 million wagered.

The bookmakers in Pennsylvania also took in a sizable $30.7 million but lost $3.3 million. Maybe the bookmakers don’t always win after all.

Elsewhere, Mississippi’s sportsbooks handled $6.7 million, while $5.5 million was wagered in Rhode Island. West Virginia reportedly took in $3.9 million, while Delaware and Oregon handled $2.1 million and $2.0 million respectively. Other states did not report separate numbers for the Super Bowl.

Out of the states mentioned above, Rhode Island and Oregon reported profits, while the bookmakers in Delaware were on the minus.

Vegas historically wins

The fact that the bookmakers in at least four states lost money on the Super Bowl can be considered a bit of a surprise. In the last 20 years, the bookmakers in Vegas have reported losses for only two Super Bowls.

The 2008 game resulted in a $2.6 million loss (-2.8% return) for them and in 1995, Vegas reported a loss of $397 thousand (-0.6%). On average, the sportsbooks in Nevada raked in a positive profit of 7.5% during that period of time.

Various factors might be in play here for why other states recorded losses this year. The fact that many of the bookmakers didn’t have multiple Super Bowls under their belts probably contributed. Regional differences in the action was surely another big factor.

But in the long run, these books will learn from their mistakes.

For more, have a look at our article on where the public money went for Super Bowl 54.


The American Gaming Association has estimated that roughly 97% of all of the wagers on the Super Bowl are made illegally. So according to that estimate, the betting market for the big game is worth billions of dollars.

With multiple states expected to start legal sports betting operations in the near future, the legal handle for the next Super Bowl will surely be getting bigger.

Even though we concluded earlier that the Super Bowl doesn’t necessarily provide great opportunities for smart investors, more overall money in the market will. And the big game is a good measuring stick for overall sports betting market trends.

To get up and running with smart investing in the sports betting market, check out our head trader John Todora’s new book – “Zero Correlation Investing – The Score Metrics Secret”. It’s currently on sale for a limited time, so go get yours now!

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