Super bowl sports betting Peyton Manning
Super Bowl sports betting interest soared to new levels on Sunday as many hoped Peyton Manning would win his second NFL championship, a notion that came to fruition when the Denver Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers 24-10. (Image: Julie Jacobson/AP)

Super Bowl sports betting was legally confined to the books in Nevada and predominantly Las Vegas on Sunday, but that didn’t stop residents and tourists from placing a record $132.54 million on the big game between the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers.

That number sets a new milestone for total wagers on a Super Bowl, and it broke the previous mark handsomely. Since the Nevada Gaming Control Board first began tracking betting revenue on the NFL championship in 1991, no game had topped $120 million, the ousted former record coming in 2014 with $119 million.

The house won $13.31 million on the Broncos’ 24-10 upset over the Panthers, the third-most Nevada’s 194 regulated sportsbooks have won on a Super Bowl.

“Great crowds, great business and a really good day for Las Vegas,” Stations Casinos Vice President Art Manteris told ESPN.

In addition to a record-setting day in Nevada, Super Bowl 50 was also monumental throughout the country. Though the game averaged 111.9 million television viewers, third-most in Super Bowl history, CBS claimed with streaming devices included 167 million tuned in, which makes it the most watched broadcast ever.

Billions More Gambled

$132 million is a staggering number, but it’s just a fraction of the true total that was wagered on Super Bowl 50. Peyton Manning’s likely final game and underdog status against the favored Carolina Panthers and its sometimes-controversial quarterback Cam Newton is estimated to have actually received over $4 billion in bets.

“The record amount wagered, legally and illegally, on Super Bowl 50 offers further proof that sports betting has become America’s new national pastime,” American Gaming Association (AGA) CEO Geoff Freeman said in a statement. The AGA is a trade group that fights for the casino and gaming industry.

“Fans want to be invested in their favorite sports and, one way or another, will find a way to do so,” Freeman said of the black market.

The AGA published a study ahead of Sunday’s game that showed 80 percent of Super Bowl viewers favor legalizing sports betting, and two in three think states should decide the issue over the federal government.

Sports betting is currently illegal in the overwhelming majority of the country due to the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992.

Rosy Commercial

Each 30-second commercial cost a cool $5 million during the Super Bowl, and bookmaker William Hill used its time to poke fun at the legal status of sports betting in the United States with one of the more notorious gamblers the country’s ever known.

The commercial highlighted the William Hill Mobile Sports app that allows users in Nevada to bet mid-game on professional and collegiate events. At the end of the spot, baseball great Pete Rose asks, “You sure this won’t get me in trouble?”

The ad ends will a voiceover explaining, “It’s okay to bet on baseball.”

Rose is infamous for placing wagers on MLB games in which he participated. Baseball’s all-time hits leader, Rose’s involvement with sports betting has kept him out of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.