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Gambling industry projects $6.8billion will be bet on Super Bowl LIV

31st January, 17:41

Sunday's game will be only the second since a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that opened the door for all 50 states to offer legal sports betting (so far, 14 offer it)

With legal sports betting continuing to spread in the United States, the gambling industry is projecting that an estimated $6.8 billion will be wagered both legally and illegally on Super Bowl LIV this Sunday.

The gambling industry's trade association, the American Gaming Association, says 26 million Americans plan to make a bet - up 15 percent from last year. And a survey by the online bookmaker DraftKings found 78 percent of respondents say they're more likely to watch the whole game if they have a bet on it.

While many football fans are old hats at betting on the big game, through means legal and otherwise, Sunday's game will be only the second since a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that opened the door for all 50 states to offer legal sports betting (so far, 14 offer it).

Guests line up to place bets as they attend a viewing party for the NCAA Men's College Basketball Tournament inside the 25,000-square-foot Race & Sports SuperBook at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino which features 4,488-square-feet of HD video screens on March 15, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada

In this January 29, 2020, photo, a gambler makes bets on the upcoming Super Bowl at Bally's casino in Atlantic City N.J. Gambling industry officials expect Sunday's Super Bowl to be among the most heavily wagered-on championship games ever

'With 14 operational markets and another seven close behind, Americans have never before had so many opportunities to wager on the Super Bowl in a safe and legal manner, and clearly, they are getting in on the action,' said AGA President Bill Miller in a press release. 'With increased visitation to legal sportsbooks, we are successfully drawing bettors away from the predatory illegal market.'

Around 5 million Americans are expected to bet on a mobile device, which Miller believes shows improved trust among customers.

'I have absolute confidence that Americans didn't start betting on sports when the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was overturned,' Miller said in a statement. 'What makes this year's Super Bowl remarkable is that more fans than ever before will have the reassurance that the integrity of their bets on the big game will be preserved.

'The continued expansion of legal sports betting -- to the detriment of the illegal market -- truly benefits all stakeholders, from enhanced fan engagement for teams to added tax revenue for state and local economies.'

Prop bets for Super Bowl LIII are on display before the start of the game at the Westgate Superbook sports book in this file photo from February of 2019

Interestingly, some companies have found it easier to embrace the distraction of the Super Bowl.

For instance, Rotogrinders.com will give employees Monday off following the fantasy sports website's two-day celebration of the game.

Chief Operating Officer Cameron MacMillan doesn't worry about one day's lost productivity; he sees the day off as an investment in his staffers who run a website for fantasy sports fans. He also shrugs it off when employees of the Nashville, Tennessee-based company talk about the game when they're on the clock.

'What we give, we'll get back,' says MacMillan, whose company hosts a party for staffers and their friends with a basketball game, mechanical bull rides and plenty of food.

And when March Madness arrives, MacMillan will also be happy to have staffers watching the first round of the basketball tournament at their desks.

Sports can be a distraction at work the first few months of the year as pro football and college basketball hold their premier events. Business owners must choose - whether, like MacMillan, they'll allow or encourage staffers to enjoy the moment, or demand that everyone focus on work.

For many, the answer is to let staffers have some fun as long as they get their tasks done. Bosses realize that sports chatter and Super Bowl or NCAA celebrations are morale boosters and strengthen staffers' ties to their jobs, something that's increasingly important in a tight labor market. But employment law attorneys and human resources consultants have some caveats for owners, particularly when it comes to office betting pools.

Hard Rock Stadium is shown in Miami Gardens, Florida in preparation for Super Bowl LIV

Although interest in the Super Bowl is widespread - nearly 100 million people watched it on TV last year - lengthy conversations about the game, halftime show and commercials can rankle owners. The same goes for March Madness, the Olympics and the World Cup.

'I've had clients who have complained about the amount of downtime that these events have caused. They ask, 'should we limit it?'' says Mark Kluger, an employment law attorney in Tinton Falls, New Jersey.

That can be shortsighted, Kluger says.

49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo throws as he warms up during practice on Thursday

'The past few years, it's been more difficult to find employees,' Kluger says. 'Employers do have to be more sensitive to keeping employees happy.'

Owners might want to take the long view - events like the Super Bowl or March Madness happen once a year. And even if there's a lot of discussion, say, about a TV series like 'Game of Thrones,' the boss might want to be grateful for the warm, collegial atmosphere and not worry so much about dollars and cents.

'Some conversations about sports or movies wouldn't make or break any workplace,' says Farrah Fielder, an executive vice president at human resources provider Engage PEO.

At some point, owners may need to remind staffers there's work to be done. At MyCorporation.com, an online business consultancy, staffers can be so engrossed in conversations that the bosses need to say, 'let's get rolling, it's a busy day,' CEO Deborah Sweeney says.

But Sweeney is also a big fan of using events like the Super Bowl to keep morale high and employees motivated.

'I want to have fun. When they see that in leadership, they feel committed to the job and that translates to happier customers,' says Sweeney, whose company is based in Calabasas, California. So MyCorporation.com has a pre-Super Bowl potluck party, celebrations for St. Patrick's Day, Cinco de Mayo and 'anything we can think of,' Sweeney says.

When owners decide to end a conversation about any topic, they need to be sure they're not favoring one staffer's chatter over another's. For example, tolerating or even participating in a dissection of last night's game but cutting off talk about children, cars, shopping or whatever is on everyone's mind. A worker who feels shut down can feel discriminated against, and either leave or bring a lawsuit against the company.

A bigger productivity buster is employee absences - an estimated 17.5 million workers may miss work the day after the game, according to a survey commissioned by Kronos, a human resources provider. But in many cases, the boss has warning - an estimated 11.1 million employees will take a day off approved in advance. Another 4.7 million said they'd call in sick.

In this undated image provided by Cameron MacMillan, Jordan Davis, foreground, and Jason Wilson and Chad Wright, background work at the Better Collective Tennessee, RotoGrinders.com office in downtown Nashville, Tenn. Sports can be a distraction at work the first few months of the year as pro football and college basketball hold their premier events. Business owners have to make a choice, whether, like McMillan at RotoGrinders.com, they'll allow or encourage staffers to enjoy the moment, or demand that everyone focus on work

Here is a guide to betting on the big game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers:

- The most popular bets continue to be on the point spread (the number of points by which a team must win the game in order for the bet to be a winner) and the total, also known as the over/under (the total number of points scored by both teams).

Contrary to popular belief, the point spread is not a consensus on how many points oddsmakers think one team will win by. Rather, it is a number designed to generate as close to an equal number of bets on both sides as possible. That way, the oddsmakers are guaranteed a profit through a cut of the action, called the vigorish, or 'vig.' (Many books, hoping to sound less wiseguy-ish, call it 'the price.') Most sports books will keep about 10% of a winning bet before paying you the rest, but they keep 100% of all losing bets. Prices on Super Bowl bets can vary significantly, so it pays to shop around to get the lowest price you can before making a bet.

If you believe the game will be a high-scoring affair, you might want to make a bet on the total, which recently was set at 54.5 points. That means if you bet the over, both teams combined must score at least 55 points for your bet to win. If it doesn't, people who bet the under will win.

- Don't like the odds you're being offered? There are alternatives, but they can be costly. Many sports books offer so-called teasers in which you can move the line up or down by 6, 6.5, 7 or more points on at least two combined bets.

Patrick Mahomes looks to hand off to Damien Williams during the Chiefs practice on Thursday

A typical bet might be taking the 49ers, who are already getting 1 point, and teasing the spread up to 8, meaning Kansas City would now have to win by nine points. The other half of the teaser could involve lowering the total from 54.5 to 47.5, meaning both teams combined would have to score at least 48 points. The tricky part about this is BOTH bets must win in order for your teaser to be a winner. If your team covers the 8-point spread, but both teams only combine for 42 points, your bet loses.

- If this sounds like a lot to take in, there are much simpler ways to bet on the game, including some aimed at the casual fan or even someone who knows nothing at all about football. A perennial favorite is betting on the coin flip at the start of the game to determine which team can choose to get the ball first. There are only two choices: heads or tails, and it comes before the game even starts for those impatient to know whether their bet is a winner.

This is what's called a proposition or 'prop' bet. It involves betting on whether a particular event will or won't happen during the game. They can be disarmingly simple, such as guessing which team will get the ball first, whether the first score of the game will be a touchdown or a field goal, and whether or not the game will go into overtime.

Prop bets based on a particular player's performance are always popular during the Super Bowl. You can bet on whether Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes will pass for over or under 299 yards, how many catches Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce will have, and how many receiving yards Kansas City wide receiver Tyreek Hill will gain.

On the San Francisco side, you can bet on whether quarterback Jimmy Garoppalo will throw for more or less than 247 yards, whether he'll throw more than one touchdown pass, and whether running back Raheem Mostert will score a rushing touchdown.

The props can get involved, though. Bets include which will be longer, the longest successful field goal or the longest caught pass. And there are reams of bets comparing the performances of two players against one another. Some bets also compare player performances in the Super Bowl to the performance of basketball or hockey players in games over the weekend.

Betting on the Super Bowl is supposed to be fun, and for most people, it is. But for others, compulsive gambling is a serious problem. For help, call 800-GAMBLER.

In this January 29, 2020, photo, a paper inside Bally's casino in Atlantic City N.J., lists some of the many 'proposition' bets that gamblers may make on the Super Bowl, wagering whether a particular outcome during the game will occur or not. Gambling industry officials expect Sunday's Super Bowl to be among the most heavily wagered-on championship games ever

SPORTS GAMBLING TERMS

Action - what is bet on a game

The point spread - The amount by which one team is favored by. So if the Patriots are picked to beat the Jets by 10 points, it will look like this 'Patriots-10' or 'Jets+10'

ATS - 'Against the spread,' meaning 'against the point spread.'So if the Patriots were picked to beat the Jets by 10, and won by 14, they would be 1-0 ATS. If the Jets lost by only 9, then the Patriots have an 0-1 record ATS.

Even money - Even odds, so if you bet $5, you would stand to get $10 back if you win or $0 if you lose.

Futures bet - A long-term bet usually aimed at predicting a champion

Handicapper - Someone who attempts to predict a winner of an event

Handle - The total amount wagered on a contest

Hedging - Just like in the stock market, gamblers can take bets to off-set risks of another wager

It may take several years, but one day the East Coast could offer large-scale sports books

Vig - The commission a bookmaker earns (also known as 'the price)

Moneyline - A bet in which your team only has to win in order for you to receive a payout. The spread is not considered for a moneyline wager. However, the payout for betting on a favorite is significantly lower than correctly picking an underdog. If the San Francisco Giants are favorited to beat the Miami Marlins, and '-175' appears on the moneyline, that means it would take a bet of $175 to earn a $100 profit. If '+145' appears next to the Marlins on the moneyline, that means a bet of $100 would garner a $145 profit.

Over/under - Typically used to bet on the final score of a game. If the over/under of a Heat-Magic game is set at 200, and Miami wins 100-98, then whomever wagered on the under would be victorious.

Prop bet - A 'proposition bet' is an exotic wager that typically involves a very specific set of circumstances. Betting whether or not LeBron James will score 40 or more points in a particular game would be a prop bet. Such wagers might become heavily scrutinized as sports gambling becomes legal across the country because prop bets do create opportunities for corrupt gamblers.

Pick'em - A game with no favorite

Parlay - A single wager on several outcomes. Typically parlays are more difficult to win, but offer higher payouts.

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