It's the most wonderful Sunday of the year, the creme de la creme of football Sunday's where we eat and drink all night and watch closely to see who will be SuperBowl champions.

While many watch the NFL's championship game, whether or not their team is playing on Sunday, many will be rolling the dice and placing some bets.

The American Gaming Association estimates that 26-million Americans will place some wagers on SuperBowl LIV which is 3-million more than last year and a 15-percent increase overall.

The AGA also estimates that Americans will wager approximately $6.8 billion on the game between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers.

Here are some findings from the AGA survey, which was conducted by Morning Consult:

  • More than one-in-ten American adults plan to bet on Super Bowl LIV.
  • Of the 26 million Americans who will wager on the Super Bowl, close to 4 million will place a bet in person at a brick-and-mortar sportsbook, a 25 percent increase from last year.
  • Nearly 5 million will place a bet through an online or mobile platform, either through a licensed, legal operator or an illegal offshore book, a 19 percent increase from last year.
  • Millions more will wager with a bookie, in a pool or squares contest, or casually with family or friends.
  • 52 percent say they will bet on the Kansas City Chiefs, while 48 percent will bet on the San Francisco 49ers.

“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,” Bill Miller, president and CEO of the American Gaming Association said in a statement. “With increased visitation to legal sportsbooks, we are successfully drawing bettors away from the predatory illegal market.”

Miller said that viewership for NFL games rose five percent in 2019, up another five points from 2018.

He points to other AGA research which found that 75 percent of NFL bettors say they are more likely to watch a game they have bet on, and sports bettors are more interested in the NFL than any other professional sports league.

“I have absolute confidence that Americans didn’t start betting on sports when the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was overturned,” continued Miller. “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.”

While betting and winning can bring you joy and lots of money, you should know your financial limits and keep yourself and family in mind when making these gambling decisions.

Meanwhile Neva Pryor, the Executive Director of the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey, is cautioning football fanatics to not go overboard when placing bets before or on game-day.

"The media frenzy can entice problem gamblers to place bets on point spreads, coin tosses, quarter and halftime scores, and even the length of the song that will be sung during the halftime show," Pryor said in a statement. "Enormous amounts of legal betting will occur, along with office-box pools, offshore sports books operating internet gambling sites, and of course, street-corner bookies eager for some action."

Pryor says that problem gamblers often see SuperBowl Sunday as a chance to win back the losses they have suffered during the NFL's regular season.

"New gamblers often get caught up in wagering on the game as well. Often, family members will experience emotional and/or physical abuse during or after the game, as so much is riding on the outcome of wagers," Pryor said.

In addition, she said that alcohol consumption can be a recipe for trouble as it can fuel the emotions and behavior of the problem gambler while they're watching the game.

"The Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey will receive an enormous amount of 800-GAMBLER hotline calls from problem and disordered gamblers and loved ones of those who struggle," Pryor said. "Serious financial losses are often the norm for the problem gambler; the problem gambler’s family is often left with financial devastation, much anger, and feelings of helplessness and despair."

Here are some helpful tips from the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey for Problem Gamblers and Families on the day of the Big Game:

  • Should you have the urge to gamble, call 800-GAMBLER for assistance.
  • Do something positive for yourself or someone else instead of betting on the Big Game.
  • Do not watch the game.
  • Go to the movies, a play, or go out dining; participate in any type of activity where the game will not be shown.
  • Avoid social settings such as parties on the day of the Big Game.
  • Go to a Gamblers Anonymous meeting; some meetings host a pizza party or special event on the day of the game.
  • Should you wager on the game, know your limits; bet with your head and not over it.
  • Do not consume alcohol and/or take drugs if you have wagered on the game and/or will be watching the game.
  • Be mindful that physical and/or emotional abuse towards family or loved ones is not acceptable.
  • If you are a family member of a problem gambler, attend a Gam-Anon meeting this weekend.
  • Family members need to be mindful of the potential volatility on Sunday and their need for safety.

"At 800-GAMBLER, we help problem gamblers and their families in three very profound ways by offering Support, Treatment, and Hope," Pryor said. "We’ve helped to change the lives of many and are always a phone call or click away."

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