Suspected illegal betting activity at the Super Bowl

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Mar 15, 2021
Did illegal betting activities occur in the final of the US American football professional league National Football League? This is the question that Tennessee regulators and law enforcement agencies are currently asking themselves. As part of a review, more than 70 sports betting accounts have already been permanently blocked. But are illegal betting activities at the Super Bowl really a serious issue?

Super Bowl

In America alone, an average of 90 million people watch the Super Bowl. All over the world, hundreds of millions of football fans tune in. So it's no wonder that so many criminals feel drawn to this sporting highlight. The responsible law enforcement authorities in the US state of Tennessee are currently investigating a high double-digit number of illegal betting activities at this year's Super Bowl LV. At least that's what the news portal CBS Sports reports these days.

So far 74 sports betting accounts closed​

There are currently four licensed sports betting providers in Tennessee. In addition to DraftKings and BetMGM, this also includes FanDuel and Action 247. Two of these four bookmakers are said to have had irregularities at this year's Super Bowl event. The Tennessee Education Lottery, as the competent authority, then carried out a number of checks and, in a first step, permanently closed 74 sports betting accounts. The majority are said to have been accounts of private individuals.

While a sports betting provider has stated that there are no investigations with him, with Action 247 another bookmaker has referred to the responsibility of the regulatory authority and otherwise remained silent. FanDuel and DraftKings have shown themselves to be particularly taciturn and, according to information from CBS Sports, initially rejected any comment.

The Super Bowl is one of the largest individual sporting events in the world and was watched live on TV by more than 92 million Americans this year. This is the final of the US American football professional league National Football League (NFL). The event usually takes place on the first Sunday in February. The last time the Tampa Bay Buccaneers competed against the Kansas City Chiefs was on February 7, 2021. Tampa won the final with 31: 9.

Unfortunately, so far there is no detailed information about which illegal betting activities it is said to have been. Tennessee Education Lottery CEO Rebecca Hargrove said that team compliance reviews revealed suspicious sports betting anomalies from two licensed sports betting providers.

According to current information, primarily violations of the applicable federal or state law have been complained about. At this point in time, however, the investigations are still ongoing, so it remains to be seen what results the regulatory and law enforcement authorities in Tennessee will come to.

When television began broadcasting in 1967, a 30-second Super Bowl commercial cost approximately $ 264,000. In 2009 it was already 3.6 million, in 2015 as much as 4.4 million and in 2017 as much as 5.2 million US dollars.

€ 15.5 million wagered on Super Bowl bets​

Industry representatives assume that the four American betting providers in Tennessee alone made bets worth around 15.5 million US dollars at the Super Bowl. Of this, around 12.6 million US dollars were paid out to the players in the form of betting winnings. The difference is accordingly the betting providers' profit. Internationally, the betting amounts that wandered over the (virtual) table at the Super Bowl are likely to be at least in the high three-digit million range. In Germany, too, a number of bookmakers have offered football bets for the Super Bowl.


As the Tennessee Lottery announced, the integrity of the sport is currently not at risk. Accordingly, one is in the ongoing investigation and could not yet provide any detailed information on the illegal betting activities. The only fact is that so far in the US state of Tennessee more than 70 sports betting accounts have been permanently blocked because illegal betting activities are suspected. By the way, the next Super Bowl LVI will take place on February 6, 2022!