Super Bowl Betting: New York Number Massive; Nevada Sportsbooks Shatter Record

May 29, 2020; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; A Wilson 2020 NFL ÒThe DukeÓ official football and Super Bowl Vince Lombardi trophy at the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign on the Las Vegas strip.
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In the U.S., there are now more than 25 legal, regulated sports betting jurisdictions. Which means Nevada, and specifically Las Vegas, have a boatload of competition. And yet, Super Bowl betting records continue to fall with regularity in the Silver State, which until a few years ago was the only state where sports betting was legal.

On Monday afternoon, the Nevada Gaming Control Board released the statewide number on Super Bowl handle. And it was shocking, in a good way: Nevada sportsbooks took in a state record $179.8 million in wagers on the Los Angeles Rams vs. Cincinnati Bengals matchup. Friday afternoon, New York — which just added mobile betting Jan. 8 — revealed its Super Bowl week numbers. The Empire State didn’t specifically break out Super Bowl handle, but suffice to say, it was a huge number.

Nevada Gaming Control Board senior analyst Mike Lawton and a handful of sportsbook industry insiders talked with about a successful Super Bowl Sunday.

‘I’m Shocked’

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) gestures downfield in the second quarter during Super Bowl 56 against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Feb. 13, 2022, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif. The Cincinnati Bengals lost, 23-30. Nfl Super Bowl 56 Los Angeles Rams Vs Cincinnati Bengals Feb 13 2022 1393
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The Rams’ 23-20 victory over the Bengals in Sunday’s Super Bowl shattered the previous state record of $158.6 million. That mark was set in the Philadelphia Eagles-New England Patriots matchup in 2018.

“I’m shocked,” said Jeff Stoneback, head of BetMGM’s Nevada operations and a 36-year veteran of Vegas sportsbooks. “I didn’t think we’d exceed the 2020 Super Bowl (Chiefs-49ers, $154.7 million). If you’d talked to me on Friday, I’d have said no way we’d beat it. And even Sunday night, I’d have been very surprised. So I’m shocked not just that we beat it, but that we blew it away.”

Nevada books also did well to results, retaining $15.4 million of that $179.8 million, for a hold rate of 8.6 percent. It’s the third-most money Nevada sportsbooks have won over the past nine Super Bowls. Only the 2014 Seahawks-Broncos game ($19.7 million) and 2020 Chiefs-Niners matchup ($18.8 million) saw Nevada books win more.

South Book sportsbook director Chris Andrews — like Stoneback another longtime Nevada industry vet — had a similar reaction to his BetMGM colleague.

“I’m shocked, I really am,” Andrews said. “Our handle was better than I expected, but the prop handle was unbelievable.”

As Andrews reflected Monday about what was a very busy Sunday, he was a little less surprised.

“Honest to God, action was just fast and furious. Tons of business,” he said the flurry of wagers his team accepted in the hours leading up to Super Bowl 56. “We had a quite a few $100,000 bets, but I couldn’t even tell you how many $30,000/$40,000 bets we had. There were a whole bunch in that range.”

And then there was the accumulation of all the small-dollar wagers from the public, particularly on Super Bowl prop bets, as Andrews noted.

Sports Betting Expansion Doesn’t Hurt Nevada

SuperBook big board displaying the Super Bowl prop bets for Rams vs Bengals.
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One thing that’s apparent is that the May 2018 Supreme Court decision overturning the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act — clearing the way for the expansion of sports betting beyond Nevada’s borders — has not hindered Las Vegas.

“When PASPA got overturned, I said then that it’s gonna grow the market,” Andrews said. “Initially, I thought Nevada would take a little step back, which it never did. But it obviously grew the market. And if it grows the market, Nevada is gonna get its share.”

Indeed, Nevada has now seen record handle in four of the last seven Super Bowls. And two of the top three marks — this year and 2020 — have both come since the repeal of PASPA.

“This year’s [Super Bowl handle] continued the trends we have been witnessing in sports wagering during calendar year 2021,” Lawton said. “The state saw three consecutive months of more than $1 billion in wagers (October-December), and an all-time annual record was established with $8.1 billion in total sports book write.”

Lawton pointed to a couple of another factor in explaining Nevada’s 2022 Super Bowl numbers.

“This year, there was a normal Super Bowl party environment, with COVID-19 restrictions — including mask requirements — being lifted,” Lawton said. “Sportsbooks across the state were able to capitalize on this.”

Jay Kornegay, who operates The SuperBook as vice president of race and sports for Westgate, was certainly pleased with the state’s record handle. But speaking at least to his shop’s experience, he felt the late removal of COVID restrictions kept the game from being an even bigger success. The state’s mask mandate was not lifted until Thursday, three days before the game.

“I’m surprised to see a new record. I thought Nevada lifted the mask mandate too late. The tardiness was a negative factor,” Kornegay said. “[But] I believe the main reasons [for the state record] are the expansion and popularity of sports gaming. Other jurisdictions are setting records. Why not Nevada?”

Lawton said mobile wagering also played into the big Super Bowl number. He pointed specifically to the books’ ability to offer a wider variety of betting options, most notably though prop bets. Another positive: Mobile apps lead to more in-game wagering.

Vegas Gonna Vegas

South Point sportsbook on 2021-22 conference championship Sunday
Photo Courtesy of South Point

The other factor in Nevada’s continued Super Bowl betting success is the undeniable appeal of Las Vegas, even coming out of a pandemic. Yes, New Jersey was the first state to break the billion-dollar barrier in monthly sports betting handle, and now does so on a regular basis. The Garden State has overtaken Nevada as the top handle producer, though it is about to get beat on the regular by neighboring New York, which just launched mobile sports betting in January.

So obviously, Nevada will take a back seat in monthly/annual handle to New York, as well. But as Lawton noted, Nevada has now produced three straight billion-dollar-handle months. Further, when it comes to one-offs like the Super Bowl — the biggest single-day sports betting event in America — the Silver State very much holds its own against states with much higher population density.

“It doesn’t matter who’s in the Super Bowl. It’s the event. The parties, headliners, shows, all of that makes it more of a big deal here,” Stoneback said. “Yeah, you can sit at home on your couch in Indiana with 20 of your friends, and you can bet on the game. But it’s not like being in a big room in Vegas with hundreds of other people. You will not get the atmosphere anywhere else that you get in Las Vegas.

“This is the only place that has anything like that to offer.”

Added Andrews: “There’s something about it, almost a community aspect to it. Everybody is here with a bet on the game and interest in the game. There’s just something special about being in Las Vegas … during the Super Bowl.”

Bottom line: While many more Americans can and are partaking in sports betting in their home states, they ultimately want to experience it in a way those states can’t replicate.

“More fans are starting to experience sports wagering, and eventually those fans will want to make it to the Entertainment Capital of the World,” Kornegay said. “I don’t see any slowdown in the next few years. We’re already working on plans for the Las Vegas Super Bowl in 2024.”

And if there’s one thing you can count on, Nevada once again will shatter Super Bowl wagering records when the game is actually held in Vegas.

Big Bite For The Big Apple

A bettor pays for wagers on some of the more than 400 proposition bets for Super Bowl LI between the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots at the SuperBook at the Westgate Las Vegas
Image Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Unlike Nevada and New Jersey, among others, New York did not separate out its Super Bowl betting handle. But from Feb. 7-13 — the week up to and through the Super Bowl — the state saw $476.1 million in handle across all sports. That seems an insane number, but is actually well in line with New York’s first five weeks of mobile handle.

It’s hard to accurately pinpoint how much of that nearly half-a-billion dollars was tied to the Big Game. However, Ryan Butler, managing editor of — a sister site to — is sure New York far outstripped Nevada’s $179.8 million. That means, Butler said, that New York easily had the highest Super Bowl handle ever of any U.S. jurisdiction.

Jack Andrews, a sports betting analyst and co-founder of Unabated Sports, did some cocktail-napkin work to reach a likely reasonable number. Andrews noted that the New York State Gaming Commission revealed during the state’s first month of mobile wagering, football accounted for 30 percent of handle. From there, Andrews said it’s not unreasonable to assume 50-60 percent of Super Bowl week handle was tied to the Rams-Bengals game.

“That puts the Super Bowl betting at about $260 million,” Andrews said. “That number feels about right to me.”