Record Super Bowl Betting Handle Of $143.7 Million For NJ Sportsbooks

The house won again, but not by as much as in 2021
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Preliminary statistics reported by Atlantic City casinos and New Jersey racetracks released by the state Division of Gaming Enforcement on Tuesday showed that wagering on this year’s Super Bowl totaled approximately $143.7 million, with a projected total payout to bettors of $135.9 million. That means a win of $7.8 million for the sportsbooks.

These unaudited revenue figures include New Jersey’s 12 retail sportsbooks and 24 mobile books.

The win for the books “evens the score” for the house vs. the betting public — although the public’s wins have been by less than the house’s victories. The first Super Bowl with legal sports betting in New Jersey was in 2019, when the betting handle was $34.9 million and the books lost $4.6 million as the popular Tom Brady-led New England Patriots defeated the Los Angeles Rams, 13-3. In 2020, the books lost another $4.3 million on $54.3 million in total wagers as the Kansas City Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes won by a 31-20 score over the San Francisco 49ers.

Last year, the betting handle doubled to $117.4 million, and the house kept an impressive $11.3 million to more than make up for starting the New Jersey Super Bowl era at 0-2.

NJ the birthplace of betting beyond Nevada

The $350.3 million legally wagered in New Jersey alone on four Super Bowls has come about thanks to state officials enduring a six-year legal battle that ended in May 2018 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a 1992 federal law limiting Las Vegas-style sports betting to Nevada was unconstitutional.

The NFL, NCAA, MLB, NBA, and NHL had sued New Jersey in 2012 after passage of a state law that took on the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. The state law would allow the state’s racetracks and casinos to offer sports betting.

The leagues won round after round in federal court, but in 2017 the Supreme Court decided to take the case following a pair of 2-1 rulings by panels of the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals. In a 6-3 decision, the nation’s highest court found that while the federal government can ban activities such as sports betting, it cannot “commandeer” state officials into doing their bidding — as PASPA had directed.

“The legalization of sports gambling requires an important policy choice, but the choice is not ours to make,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the majority opinion. “Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each state is free to act on its own. Our job is to interpret the law Congress has enacted and decide whether it is consistent with the Constitution. PASPA is not. … It issues a direct order to the state legislature … [and] unequivocally dictates what a state legislature may and may not do. A more direct affront to state sovereignty is not easy to imagine.”

Photo: Kirby Lee/USA TODAY

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