The NFL is breaking new ground by hosting its biggest game of the year in Las Vegas for the first time. The professional football league has historically steered clear of the casino and sports betting town, but everything changed in May 2018 when the US Supreme Court overturned a federal law that limited single-game sports betting to Nevada.
Since then, more than 30 states have legalized sports gambling, and Las Vegas has emerged as a major sports town. The NFL has gradually embraced sports betting, acknowledging that oddsmakers have significantly increased fan engagement, leading to higher broadcast and streaming viewership. This change of heart from the NFL has culminated in the upcoming Super Bowl LVIII, which will be held at Allegiant Stadium, home of the Las Vegas Raiders.
The game, which is scheduled for February 11, will determine the two teams competing in the big event. The AFC Championship game will see the Kansas City Chiefs play at the Baltimore Ravens, while the evening showdown will feature the Detroit Lions visiting the San Francisco 49ers.
With Las Vegas being synonymous with casino gambling and sports betting, the NFL is taking steps to ensure player safety and protect the integrity of the game. Players from teams not participating in the Super Bowl are allowed to gamble at casinos but are barred from betting on sports. Meanwhile, players from the two competing teams are prohibited from all forms of gambling, including slot machines and table games.
The Super Bowl being played in Las Vegas for the first time has led oddsmakers to believe that the game could bring record betting action. The previous record handle for a Super Bowl in Nevada was set during Super Bowl LVI in 2022. Additionally, sportsbooks are hoping for a matchup that does not involve the Kansas City Chiefs, as there is some betting fatigue associated with the team’s frequent appearances in previous Super Bowls.
In conclusion, the NFL’s eventual embrace of Las Vegas and sports betting is evidence of the changing landscape of professional sports in the US, as legalized gambling continues to permeate the nation.