Super Bowl Sunday isn’t just about the big game and the guacamole.
Yes, the host Los Angeles Rams will play against the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI in front of a 70,240-person capacity crowd at SoFi Stadium on Sunday. Yes, the annual end to the NFL season continues to be one of the most watched events in television.
But it’s also the unofficial holiday for sports bettors across the globe.
With single-game sports betting getting the legal seal of approval from Ottawa last August, Canadian sports fans have been able to take advantage of the previously murky industry as a legitimate way to spend billions every year.
Andrew Paterson, brand ambassador for Coolbet Canada and host of the Lock Shop Podcast, has seen sports betting popularity surge in the past few years.
“You might be a big fan of one particular team or you might love a particular sport, but the fact of the matter is, people are far more engaged and often have a little more fun if they got a little action on the game,” he said.
“This is basically becoming the norm right now.”
The American Gaming Association estimates a record 31.4 million American adults plan to bet on Super Bowl LVI, a 35 percent increase from 2021. Bettors are expected to wager an estimated $7.61 billion on this year’s championship game, up 78 per cent from last year.
That increase in betting has been aided by legalization, apps available on smartphones and the influx of marketing from mass media organizations looking to capitalize on the lucrative industry.
“There’s been a shift in culture. Things that were frowned upon or looked down upon before are just accepted a little bit more,” Paterson said, pointing to the industry’s transformation from taboo to legitimacy.
“People realized this was going on one way or another. It’s sort of a rocket ship right now.”
While sports betting has grown exponentially in recent years, the Super Bowl adds another element for bettors looking to spend some cash.
Not only are the usual bets – the total score, the winning team and player’s performances – available. There’s also prop bets like what colour will Eminem’s hair be for the halftime show? Will he be wearing a hoodie and a hat? What’s the colour of the Gatorade poured on the head of the winning coach?
The possibilities may not be endless, but they’re certainly plentiful.
A new rise in cross-sport bets also keep the action interesting in entirely new ways.
“You can bet on what will be more – Rams receptions in the game or how many goals Canada will score in the Olympics against China this weekend?” Paterson said.
“It’s all out there right now.”
Last September, the province announced Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority (SIGA) would launch single-game sports betting via a new wagering website and betting app in 2022.
Currently, sports bettors in Saskatchewan are limited to the Western Canada Lottery Corporation’s (WCLC) Sport Select platform. Parlay bets are made in person at WCLC retail locations such as gas stations and convenience stores. However, Saskatchewan sports bettors do have the option of wagering legally online with offshore sportsbooks operating in Canada.
“It is the biggest betting event of the year,” Paterson said. “The bottom line is there will be a lot of fired up people at the end of the game.”