“Prop Betting” on the Super Bowl, and Why Maybe You Shouldn’t

TAMPA, Fla. — Super Bowl LV is right around the corner, and sports fans across the region who like to put a wager on the game are watching the playoffs closely to see how the final face-off will shape up.

Betting on the Super Bowl is big business. Last year, the American Gaming Association estimated that Americans wagered some $7 billion on last year’s game in Miami, and the numbers keep climbing.

What You Need To Know

  • Betting on the Super Bowl is a multibillion-dollar business

  • Some bets, called “prop bets,” have nothing to do with who wins the game

  • Sports betting is illegal in the state of Florida

There’s much more to bet on than who wins or what the spread might be. Some of the most interesting betting options have nothing at all to do with which team might emerge victorious. They’re called proposition bets, or “prop bets,” and they can be as straightforward as who ends up the game’s MVP or as obscure as the color of the sports drink the winning team might dump on their coach.

The result of the coin toss at the beginning of the game is also a popular prop bet, as is the length of time it takes for the year’s special guest to get all the way through singing “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Sports betting sites like BookMaker and BetNow often cater to fans’ sense of the weird with their own list of available prop bets; here are some of last year’s, which saw the Kansas City Chiefs beating the San Francisco 49ers:

  • Will any player be arrested in Miami after the game?
  • Will Ricky Martin make an appearance on stage?
  • Will any player other than the quarterback take a direct snap?
  • Will a fan run onto the field during the game?
  • Will Floyd Mayweather wager over/under $1 million on the game?

Fans often vote on those famous Super Bowl commercials as well, trying to win some cash by guessing which beer company’s ad will air first or whether or not a specific B-list celebrity will utter their now ages-old catchphrase while hawking a particular product.

Before you get all excited about plunking down some cash on a weird Super Bowl outcome, however, remember that betting on sports is illegal in the state of Florida. While there is some argument over whether heading to an offshore betting website actually skirts the law or defies it outright, Florida Statute 849.14 makes a pretty strong case that no wagering on sports—with certain exemptions for pari-mutuel betting on things like horse racing, jai alai and, up until the beginning of this year, greyhound racing—is allowed in the Sunshine State:

“Whoever stakes, bets or wagers any money or other thing of value upon the result of any trial or contest of skill, speed or power or endurance of human or beast, or whoever receives in any manner whatsoever any money or other thing of value staked, bet or wagered, or offered for the purpose of being staked, bet or wagered, by or for any other person upon any such result, or whoever knowingly becomes the custodian or depositary of any money or other thing of value so staked, bet, or wagered upon any such result, or whoever aids, or assists, or abets in any manner in any of such acts all of which are hereby forbidden, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.”

That said, we know Super Bowl betting is big business. So if you’ve just gotta get some skin in the game, you might be better off making a friendly wager with a friend—or calling one in one of the many states (or DC!) where sports betting is already legal.

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