Idaho is Losing Super Bowl Sports Betting Revenue to Surrounding States and Online Bookies

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Feb 9, 2023 07:00 PM
Idaho is Losing Super Bowl Sports Betting Revenue to Surrounding States and Online Bookies

While more than half of the states in the USA are about to reap the benefits from betting on the 2023 Super Bowl, Idaho will be among the handful that won't see a single solitary cent. And given how much Super Bowl sports betting revenue is at stake, this will be seen as a missed opportunity that forces further discussion on the future of gambling in the Gem State.

Many won't see this as an issue. The state is clearly prepared to go without revue from Super Bowl bets. After all, it's not like Idaho is surprised they don't have legal sports betting. Officials have chosen this path, year after year. They obviously don't think there's a safe market for sports betting in Idaho.

Here's the thing: Opponents of Idaho sports betting might be wrong.

Is Super Bowl Betting in Idaho Even Popular?

Officials against legal Idaho betting have constantly cited the state's limited sports market. They do not house any professional sports teams, and they rank 38th out of 50 in state population. Will anyone really have interest in the outcome of the Kansas City Chiefs vs. Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl matchup? 

Um, yes.

Football is considered an institution in Idaho. And while their interest skews toward high school and college football, they have an avid NFL fan base. Furthermore, it just so happens one of the state's most popular NFL teams is in the Super Bowl.

According to SportsKeeda, the Seattle Seahawks are the franchise most Idahoans root for. That makes sense given the state's proximity to Washington. However, the Denver Broncos and current AFC Champion Kansas City Chiefs round out the top three. So even if Idahoans wouldn't be as invested in every possible Super Bowl matchup, this year's showdown is bound to pique their attention.

In fact, residents are already flocking toward Super Bowl betting alternatives.

Idahoans Are Betting on the 2023 Super Bowl Outside of the State

Gaining access to sports betting isn't technically hard for anyone in the United States these days. Online wagering, in particular, is open to almost everybody.

It may not be legal in every state, but many of the reputable offshore sites from our reviews of the top online sportsbooks allow anyone in the USA to set up an account and process transactions. And you better believe certain residents are taking advantage of that ability. Additionally, Idaho is surrounded by a number of neighboring states that have legalized online sports betting. If they prefer to place in-person wagers, they can bet on the Super Bowl simply by crossing state lines.

As Steve Cameron of the Post Falls Press in Idaho recently wrote, state residents are exploring both options:

"Sunday’s Super Bowl LVII between the Chiefs and Eagles will draw more legal wagering in the United States than any of its 56 predecessors. None of that money will be bet in Idaho, of course, although plenty of your friends and neighbors will get down on the game. They’ll simply do it as they always have — betting with a local bookie or through an online account in someplace like the Cayman Islands. However, Idahoans these days also can make bets on the Super Bowl (or almost any other sports event) simply by driving to a legal sports betting outlet in Washington or Oregon. It’s as easy as buying a six-pack of Coke in Oregon, where sports betting is run by the state lottery and has kiosks available pretty much everywhere. WE FOLKS in North Idaho who’d like to make a wager have to find a licensed Native American establishment in Washington that has a sportsbook."

Like Cameron notes, the ease with which Idahoans can bet on the Super Bowl is both comical and a nuisance. The state is behind the times when it comes to United States sports betting laws. What's the point in forcing residents to explore gambling alternatives that don't generate any tax revenue? We have belabored as much in this very very space, time and again. We don't have to relitigate here again. Right now, with Super Bowl sports betting at an all-time high, the more interesting question is: How much money is Idaho missing out on by not having legal sports betting for the Super Bowl?

Failure to Legalize Sports Betting is Costing Idaho Serious Cash

In advance of the matchup between the Chiefs and Eagles on Sunday, February 12, the American Gaming Association conducted a survey that determined around 50.4 million Americans plan to bet $16 billion on the 2023 Super Bowl. The number of people betting on the Super Bowl represents a 61 percent increase compared to 2022. Meanwhile, the $16 billion wagered amounts to a 110 percent increase in contrast to 2022.

Exact figures for Super Bowl betting in Idaho are impossible to pin down. But we can provide educated estimates.

If 50.4 million Americans are betting on the 2023 Super Bowl, that's the equivalent of 15.2 percent of the population. Apply that ratio to Idaho's population of roughly 2 million people, and you're looking at 300,000 residents who would plan to wager on the big game. Now, the American Gaming Association estimates the average bet placed on the Super Bowl will be a little over $317. Apply that to Idaho's estimated market of 300,00 people, and the Gem State would be in line to bet over $95.2 million on the Super Bowl.

That's a lot of money. And to be clear, it's not all profit. Winning wagers would be subtracted from that amount. But even if you cut that number by two-thirds, you're left with $31.7 million in sports betting profit. And if we assume a 10 percent standard tax on winnings, Idaho could be out on over $3 million in additional revenue—all off one game.

Will this number get Idaho officials talking about legal sports betting during the current legislative sessions? We don't know. But it probably should.

Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can find one that works for all of your sports betting needs:

Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan Favale leverages over 12 years of sports journalism expertise in his role as New York staff writer. He provides in-depth analysis across the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, tennis, NASCAR, college basketball, and sports betting. Dan co-hosts the popular Hardwood Knocks NBA podc...

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