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Super Bowl LVII is a gateway to revenue for Connecticut

Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes shows off a Super Bowl LVII bling ball while talking with the media at Footprint Center on February 6, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona.
Cooper Neill
Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes shows off a Super Bowl LVII bling ball while talking with the media at Footprint Center on February 6, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Super Bowl LVII represents a big revenue opportunity for sportsbook operators and the states that license them to take bets, including Connecticut.

The American Gaming Association expects $16 billion to be wagered on the Philadelphia/Kansas City football game, more than double the amount of dollars predicted for Super Bowl LVI.

The Connecticut Lottery, which holds sports-betting on behalf of the state of Connecticut in person at nine locations across Connecticut and via its SugarHouseCT mobile app, views football’s biggest game as a “customer-acquisition event.”

“Once they see how easy and enjoyable it is, we hope they become a long-term customer,” said Andrew Walter, the director of legal and business affairs for CT Lottery’s sports betting division. “That’s the real benefit for the State, much more than the outcome of a single game.”

This game could be a gateway to future revenue, like betting spread out over March Madness on the men’s and women’s basketball NCAA Tournaments that take place in March and April.

“This is one of our big events--Super Bowl—and then, March Madness is also a big time for us,” Angelo Avallone, director of slot operations for the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, which holds in-person sports betting inside Foxwoods Resort Casino.

He says there’s a similar turnout for the big college basketball games as the Super Bowl

“We get tons of people coming through the door the entire time through the tournament,” Avallone said

Connecticut sports betting operators refused to release revenue figures from the big game last year. The state releases gaming revenue statistics on the 15th of every month. February 2022, when last year’s Super Bowl took place, marked the lowest tax payments to the state to that point since the inception of sports betting in Connecticut. January, March, and April of 2022 were better revenue drivers than February of that year. There was more action in January due to there being more playoff football games and then, there were all the NCAA Tournament games in March and April.

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation hopes these massive sporting events draw customers to their DraftKings Sportsbook inside Foxwoods.

“Last year, we saw a pretty good [Super Bowl] crowd. It was packed the entire day in there and everything was sold out, so we’re expecting the same crowd, if not a little more,” Avallone said.

“We’ll probably get to a point where we’ll be at capacity, so that’s what we’re hoping for.”

They’ll use a buffet including baby back ribs, smoked brisket sliders, and sloppy joe mac and cheese to lure potential VIP guests to the sportsbook.

Public money on Philly

In order for operators to make money, the house needs to win. So, for the state to receive more tax payments, state bettors need to lose.

Barring a shift in betting in advance of the game, it appears the Connecticut Lottery benefits from a Kansas City win.

“While Vegas is predicting a close game, we’re rooting for the Chiefs purely from a sportsbook standpoint, but it’s pretty evenly divided among our players as to who will win,” Walter said.

It means that most of the money coming into their book comes from people betting on Philadelphia. Avallone also says a Kansas City win benefits the Mashantucket Pequots since most DraftKings bettors are spending money on Philadelphia.

The Mohegan Tribe of Indians is the third operator licensed to take sports bets by the state of Connecticut. Spokesperson Cody Chapman says Mohegan Sun is offering guests buffets, drink specials, and betting promotions to guests coming to their “ultimate viewing party.”

“As for where our guests are leaning so far, between the Chiefs and Eagles, we’re seeing good two-way action,” Chapman said.

Public money may be coming in on the Eagles as well nationally.

Caesars Sportsbook says 72 percent of its spread bets were placed on the Eagles. Kansas City owns a smaller majority of 55 percent over Philadelphia on straight-up money line bets.

Gamblers in Connecticut may reach out to the Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling hotline for help at 1-888-789-7777. The council also has an online chat set-up at ccpg.org.

Frankie Graziano is the host of The Wheelhouse, focusing on how local and national politics impact the people of Connecticut.

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