Super Bowl Expected to Set Betting Record, But Don’t Bet on Taylor Swift

09 February 2024

The gambling industry expects this Sunday's Super Bowl game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers to smash betting records.

The American football game is the National Football League's championship game. The game is played in Las Vegas, Nevada, for the first time. The city is known for its casinos and places to gamble.

The American Gaming Association (AGA) said Tuesday that it expects Sunday's game to be the busiest ever for betting. The AGA says nearly 68 million American adults, or about one in four, will bet on the game.

The Welcome to Las Vegas is outlined in purple for the Super Bowl, Feb. 6, 2024, in Las Vegas. On Sunday, the city will host the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl 58. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
The Welcome to Las Vegas is outlined in purple for the Super Bowl, Feb. 6, 2024, in Las Vegas. On Sunday, the city will host the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl 58. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

For a long time, Las Vegas was the only American city that permitted sports gambling. After a 2018 decision by the Supreme Court, sports gambling is now permitted in 38 states.

However, most of the Super Bowl bets will be made illegally, with people who take bets privately, known as bookies.

The AGA estimates over $23 billion will be bet on the game this year but only $1.5 billion of the bets will be legal. Last year, the total number was $16 billion.

Chris Grove is with Eilers and Krejcik, a company that follows the gambling business. He said, "There's a good chance that every Super Bowl for the next ten or so years will be the most bet Super Bowl thanks to the underlying growth of ... sports betting in the U.S."

You can bet on all kinds of things in American casinos and through online sports betting apps and websites.

The easiest bet is on the winner of the game. About 47 percent of bettors think Kansas City will win, and 44 percent think San Francisco will win.

But there are other ways to bet, too. People can make a bet on the outcome of individual plays. For example, people can bet whether the play will result in a score, like a touchdown or a field goal. They can bet whether the offensive team can move the ball forward by only one or two meters. Or they can bet that the defensive team will take away the ball with an interception.

But there is one thing you cannot legally bet on, at least at American casinos: if Taylor Swift will make it to the game and how many times she will appear on television. Swift has been at several Kansas City Chiefs games this year to cheer for her boyfriend, Travis Kelce, one of the team's best players.

Swift is performing in Japan on Saturday, February 10. Many expect the superstar to fly across the Pacific Ocean to get to the Super Bowl game a day later.

In the U.S., most legal bets are limited to what happens on the field. However, casinos and other gambling sites outside of the U.S. permit more wide-ranging bets. For example, it is possible to bet on the color of the Gatorade drink that will be dumped on the winning team's coach.

Other sites may permit people to guess how long the U.S. national song, the Star-Spangled Banner, will be. Reba McIntyre is performing the song before the game this year.

John Ewing works in public relations for BetMGM. He said it is better to permit bets on events that have a clear outcome.

"We want it to be either: it won or it didn't win," he said.

I'm Dan Friedell.

Dan Friedell adapted this story for Learning English based on reports by the Associated Press.


Words in This Story

bet –v. to put money or risk something on whether an action will happen, such as the outcome of a sporting event

championship –n. the highest award in a competition or sport that decides which person or team is best

casino –n. the physical building where betting happens

gamble –v. the act of playing a game of chance for money or placing a bet on an event

underlying –n. at the base, fundamental

touchdown –n. a way of scoring points in American football where the ball crosses the goal line either by running or a throw and catch – worth six points

interception –n. in American football, when a player from the opposing team catches a ball thrown in the air

coach –n. a person who teaches or trains an athlete

We want to hear from you. Do you think you will make a bet on the American football Super Bowl?