Brief • 3 min Read
Betting has long been an engrained part of the sports fan experience, but Super Bowl LVII marked the first time that the Big Game was held in a state with legalized sports betting. Currently, 36 states and the District of Columbia permit legal sports gambling. In last year’s report, we explored US adults’ support for sports gambling. This year, we investigate how public sentiment has shifted over the past 12 months.
Sports betting enthusiasts and sportsbook brands alike will be happy to hear that positive sentiment towards legalized sports betting has lifted from 2022. The American Gaming Association expected about $16 billion to be bet on this year’s game in both legal and illegal bets. This more than doubled last year’s Super Bowl bets which stood at $7.6 billion.
Last year, little more than half (54%) of US adults agreed that they have a positive opinion of sports betting. This year, we saw a positive swing in sports betting’s favor as 63% of US adults agreed that they have a positive opinion of sports betting.
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While this is a big win for sports betting, US adults have remained more consistent towards other aspects of this mercurial pastime. This year, we saw a six-percentage point increase in the percent of US adults who agree that official sports betting should be legal everywhere in the United States (69% this year, versus 63% last year).
This year and last, the same percentage of US adults (66%) agree that sports organizations (e.g., teams, leagues) should not partner with sports betting companies. This steady stand against these types of partnerships could reflect consumers’ concern that gambling/sports partnerships could undermine the integrity of the competition.
This year, 26% of US adults said that they placed a bet (e.g., using a sportsbook, an unofficial wager with friends) on the Super Bowl. This is marginally up from 2022, when 22% of adults admitted to placing a bet on Super Bowl LVI. Of those who placed a bet this year, most used an online sports betting platform (e.g., DraftKings, FanDuel) (58%), followed by placing an unofficial bet with someone they knew (e.g., friend, acquaintance) (40%), workplace bet (e.g., office pools, score squares) (32%), or a sportsbook bet (e.g., at a casino, racetrack) (28%).
Last year marked the first time that sportsbook brands could run ads during NFL games, and several online sportsbooks (Caesars, DraftKings, and FanDuel) rushed to advertise during Super Bowl LVI. This year, DraftKings and FanDuel returned with national ad campaigns. This was FanDuel’s first national campaign after a regional placement last year. DraftKings and FanDuel used their ad spots to entice new sign-ups by offering users special free bets ahead of the Super Bowl.
For their commercial, DraftKings invited viewers inside comedian Kevin Hart’s fictitious Super Bowl party. The ad plugs DraftKings’ offered free $5 in Super Bowl bets for any user in a state where DraftKings operates. Hart is accompanied by several other well-known faces, including NFL star Emmitt Smith, professional wrestler The Undertaker, rapper Ludacris, and pro skateboarder Tony Hawk. DraftKings had a strong showing across the board with a +2.8 increase in overall brand equity, +3.7 increase in familiarity, +4.9 in perceived quality, and +2.3 in purchase consideration.
FanDuel challenged the advertising norm by incorporating sports betting into their live commercial. They enlisted former football powerhouse Rob Gronkowski (aka Gronk) to kick a 25-yard field goal during the third quarter. While Gronk missed the kick, FanDuel still awarded eligible users a piece of the $10 million pie to use for future free bets. Their live stunt was memorable – FanDuel gained a 2% boost in ad recall from pre-to-post Super Bowl.
But these were not the only two ads that involved sports betting, as Molson Coors partnered with DraftKings for their ad. They established a $500,000 prize fund to distribute to DraftKing users who correctly guessed the details of their Coors Light/Miller Light/Blue Moon “High Stakes Beer Ad.” Molson Coors launched a number of fun free bets through the DraftKings app, asking about everything from dogs to facial hair. DraftKings’ involvement with Molson Coors, in addition to running their own commercial, helps explain their significant brand equity boost this year.
This year’s numbers don’t lie – sports betting is on the rise, and it does not seem that America’s enthusiasm for wagering has peaked. If more states continue to legalize sports gambling, we can expect to see our favorite sportsbook brands advertise in next year’s Super Bowl as well. Perhaps Super Bowl LVIII will also break this year’s $16 billion betting record.
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