Online sports bets pouring in ahead of Super Bowl

Published: Feb. 12, 2022 at 12:29 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Millions of dollars have already been wagered legally on the Super Bowl in Louisiana alone.

Ronnie Johns, chairman of the State Gaming Control Board, says the numbers are growing since several platforms launched their mobile apps just over two weeks ago on Jan. 28.

“We did better than the state of New York did on a per-capita basis when they rolled theirs out,” said Johns.

Nationwide, The American Gaming Association predicts more than $8 billion will be wagered this weekend alone.

“Most of it legal,” said Johns. “Some of it illegally. Some people are still using bookies. Some people are still using these offshore online accounts.”

The Louisiana rollout has gone smoothly, according to Johns, who said his agency has had few reports of bugs, glitches or major misuse thanks to geo-fencing technology.

“You’ve got to (be in) a parish that voted yes on the referendum” for a mobile sports betting app to work, Johns said. “And if you turn around and go back into the parish that voted no, it’s going to shut it off again.”

Neighboring Texas doesn’t allow sports betting, therefore many Lone Star State residents will be crossing state lines this weekend to place their bets on the big game.

“This weekend, you’re going to see heavy activity on the western side of the state with the Texas population coming in to Louisiana, primarily into the Lake Charles market and the Shreveport/Bossier market to place their bets,” said Johns.

One of those Texans is Houston businessman Jim McIngvale -- better known as “Mattress Mack” -- who recently placed a $5 million wager on the Bengals on the Caesars Sportsbook app while in Louisiana. It’s believed to be the single largest legal sports bet in history.

Mississippi only allows sports betting on casino floors, which means some of its residents also will make the trek to Louisiana to place wagers on their phones.

And it’s not just the money line. Different apps offer a variety of specials and “boosted” odds and also allow users to make what are called “prop bets” on novelties such as the coin toss, the color of the winning coach’s Gatorade shower, and the player named Super Bowl MVP.

Louisiana will be well represented during Super Bowl Sunday on both sides of the ball.

Former LSU stars Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase, Odell Beckham Jr. and Andrew Whitworth each will suit up for the game, driving more interested Louisiana fans to place a bet.

Johns says 15 percent of the betting revenue goes to the state and will benefit Louisiana residents, including those with gambling addictions. It’s part of his agency’s mission not to allow compulsive or destructive betting to become a problem.

“There’s a lot of hoops that you have to jump through before they allow you to make that bet,” Johns said. “And then they have the ability and the responsibility to cut you off (if needed).”

Johns says those who are blacklisted from casinos for compulsive gambling also will be denied the ability to place sports bets using the mobile apps.

The platforms also can bar people from betting if they owe child support.

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