Super Bowl Could Draw $1.5B+ Handle, Books Want 49ers to Win, Says Macquarie

The 2024 Super Bowl between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers is slated to be the biggest sports betting event in American history. Analysts, including Macquarie’s Chad Beynon, predict the total handle, or amount wagered, will surpass $1.5 billion as the legal sports betting market continues expanding. 

Most sportsbooks opened their moneyline odds with the SF 49ers as the favorites going into Sunday’s Super Bowl LVII at the Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. Chiefs offensive maestro Patrick Mahomes is expected to carry the day and be crowned for the third time as the Super Bowl MVP.

Las Vegas Prepares for Influx of Visitors

The world-famous Las Vegas Strip is preparing to welcome over 300,000 visitors for Super Bowl LVIII weekend. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) estimate that 83% of rooms will be occupied during Super Bowl week. 

Major sports betting operators in Nevada and across the country invested millions into expansions and renovations in anticipation of record betting handle.

Caesars Palace opened a massive two-story sportsbook last year with screens covering over 20,000 square feet. A few years back, Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino installed a state-of-the-art 5,000 square foot LED video wall, while the new Circa resort constructed the largest sportsbook in Sin City with seating for thousands of bettors. 

According to the Nevada Gaming Control Board, the state’s 182 sportsbooks have taken in over $60 million in bets on the Super Bowl in each of the past five years. In 2022, the state’s highest recorded handle reached an impressive $179.8 million as the Los Angeles Rams emerged victorious with a 23-20 win against the Cincinnati Bengals.

According to Forbes Magazine, sportsbook operators in Nevada expect to receive well over the $153.2 million in Super Bowl wagers on the Chiefs’ 38-35 win over the Philadelphia Eagles in 2023. Given the growth of legal betting markets nationwide, analysts believe Nevada’s 2024 handle could surpass $200 million.

Analysts: Super Bowl LVIII to See Record Handle

Macquarie analyst Chad Beynon forecasts a whopping $1.5 billion handle for the Super Bowl. This ambitious prediction assumes that a tenth of the 160 million American adults living in regions where sports betting is legal will place an average bet of $90.

Beynon’s figure falls significantly short of the forecast made by the American Gaming Association (AGA). According to AGA’s estimation, roughly 68 million adults in the US are expected to place bets on the Super Bowl, with an average wager of $337 per person, bringing in a total of $23 billion in the handle.

AGA’s estimates also cover bets placed through unregulated avenues, including those made on squares, via unlicensed offshore sportsbooks, and in pools at Super Bowl events. The discrepancy highlights the significant contribution of legal sports betting to the overall betting landscape.

Sportsbooks Pulling for 49ers Win in a Low-Scoring Match

A clear betting majority has emerged early in Super Bowl wagering, with nearly two-thirds of tickets backing the Kansas City Chiefs. This lopsided support places sportsbooks in a difficult position, but analysts believe operators stand well-equipped to withstand potential losses.

According to Chad Beynon, approximately 65% of early spread, money line, propositions, and over/under bets predict a Chiefs victory in a high-scoring affair. Sportsbooks generally desire balanced action on both teams to mitigate risk. But Beynon notes operators factored public tendencies into their game projections.

The public predictably loves betting on favorites and high scores, as noted by Beynon. Sportsbooks set lines and totals accounting for this bias. 

Chad expects minor line adjustments leading up to kickoff to promote two-sided betting. But the total handle remains poised to shatter records regardless of the outcome.

He also downplayed potential stock dips for public sports betting operators. Surprise upsets and unexpected point totals can cause short-term volatility. However, these platforms thrive on betting volume more than specific game results over the long run.

A Big Boost for Las Vegas

The 2024 Super Bowl will be hosted in Las Vegas, marking a significant milestone for the Silver State. Hospitality experts predict this event will inject up to $700 million into the local economy.

Las Vegas constantly draws visitors with star-studded entertainment and luxury amenities. But hosting Super Bowl LVIII raises the city’s profile to new heights. An estimated 330,000 tourists will flood the area for game-related festivities.

Sportsbooks and casinos invested heavily in expansions, anticipating the influx. Marquee properties like Caesars Palace and Circa Las Vegas now boast state-of-the-art sports betting facilities capable of handling record handle.

Beyond the 65,000 fans lucky enough to secure tickets, over a quarter million visitors plan to pack bars and sportsbooks around the city. These venues prepared extensively for the occasion with massive video walls, betting kiosks, and comfortable seating.

But local businesses outside hospitality also stand to gain. The NFL’s Business Connect program helps small enterprises compete for vendor contracts related to the big game. While tourists face pricier accommodations, excited sports fans will happily pay premium rates for a uniquely electric atmosphere. 

FanDuel and DraftKings to Reap Big

The two dominant players in mobile sports betting stand poised for a massive windfall from Super Bowl LVIII action. FanDuel and DraftKings combine to control approximately 70% market share in the burgeoning industry.

A big chunk of the $1.5 billion bets will flow through FanDuel and DraftKings platforms. Prop bets tied to musical guest Taylor Swift should also drive engagement. DraftKings lets bettors wager on Chiefs’ tight end Travis Kelce scoring touchdowns in both halves to “get the girl”. Meanwhile, FanDuel asks if Kelce will propose to Swift during the game.

These entertainment-driven bets attract casual fans less interested in traditional wagering. The crossover appeal supports inline growth projections from analysts. If Taylor Swift can spur that level of economic activity, expectations are sky-high for what her Super Bowl appearance might bring.

Summing Up

Las Vegas has hosted countless major events over the decades. But the 2024 Super Bowl may represent the city’s biggest weekend ever in terms of visitation and betting handle. Americans are expected to wager over $1.5 billion on the matchup, with the majority backing the KC Chiefs. One thing is certain: legal sports betting growth shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

State Regulators Plead for Federal Help with Offshore Gaming