Maryland allows Super Bowl bets from the coin toss to the Gatorade color, unlike many states – Boston Herald


You might not be able to win a bet on what color Gatorade will shower the winning Super Bowl coach — maybe green, red or blue? — but, unlike many states, Maryland will at least provide the opportunity to make such a wager.

It’s up to the state’s sportsbook operators to decide what bets to offer for Sunday’s big game, and Maryland is giving them plenty of leeway. The state may have lagged behind neighboring jurisdictions in legalizing sports betting, but now that the regulatory system is up and running, it is among the most permissive in the nation on what sorts of creative wagers it will allow.

As the Super Bowl between the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs approaches, sports betting is legal in nearly three-dozen states, and each is free to decide for themselves which wagers are in bounds. Novelty bets are a Super Bowl tradition, but many states consider some wagers — such as how long it will take to sing the National Anthem — problematic because they are not part of the game.

Consider the Gatorade gamble. It’s prohibited in more states than not, but people within Maryland’s borders may wager on whether the sports drink that traditionally douses the triumphant coach will be “yellow-green-lime” — the odds-on favorite on many sites — orange, blue, purple, red-pink (a trendy pick this year) or other colors.

“The Gatorade color is a really popular one,” said Leon Twyman, general manager of the FanDuel sportsbook at Live! Casino & Hotel Maryland in Hanover. “It gives you something to look forward to at the end of the game. Honestly, it’s just fun.”

But more than a dozen states bar such Gatorade guessing, many on grounds that, unlike a quarterback’s passing yardage, there is no officially sanctioned result.

Pennsylvania, for example, banned bets on Gatorade color because it only allows wagers tied to “the outcome of athletic contests,” said Doug Harbach, spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

New York is even tougher, prohibiting wagers not only on Gatorade color but also the National Anthem duration and some other popular proposition bets known as “props.”

“The examples are not sporting events,” said Brad Maione of the New York State Gaming Commission, when asked about Gatorade and anthem wagers.

New York also prohibits bets on who will be named the Super Bowl’s most valuable player, a bet Maryland permits. The MVP is decided by a vote of media members and fans, meaning the decision could presumably be influenced by people with a stake in the outcome.

Maryland casinos started accepting sports wagers at their properties in December 2021. The state began allowing mobile betting — on computers, phones or other smart devices — last November, two years after voters approved a ballot question to allow sports betting.

Sports betting regulations were adopted earlier in 2021 and included provisions “that are in line with input we heard from sports leagues while the regulations were being developed,” said Maryland Lottery and Gaming spokesman Seth Elkin. “The NFL, specifically, expressed concerns about wagers involving injuries, penalties and replay reviews, and those are prohibited.”

NFL spokesperson Alex Riethmiller told The Baltimore Sun it’s up to regulators and operators “to manage risk, limit bet sizes, and develop markets that they think are appropriate on these novelty wagers. We know that the Super Bowl drives massive interest from casual and avid fans alike, so we see more of these types of markets for this game.”

Unlike many otherstates, Maryland doesn’t single out specific NFL wagers that are baned.

“We generally allow wagers that aren’t prohibited by our regulations,” Elkin said. “When a sportsbook operator makes a request to add a wager to our approved catalog, we evaluate it, and if it doesn’t violate our regulations, we’ll add it.”

In an informal search, The Sun found few mobile sportsbooks outside Maryland permitting bets on the duration of the Super Bowl’s pre-game anthem. Many states’ regulators rejected it on grounds that there is no official timekeeper.

Illinois, for example, specifically forbids licensees from “Length of the National Anthem” bets and tells them generally they must avoid wagers “that are wholly unconnected to the conduct of the Super Bowl,” according to an Illinois Gaming Board document.

The anthem bet appears popular, though, on offshore sportsbook websites or apps that are out of regulators’ jurisdiction.

Country singer Chris Stapleton is scheduled to sing the national anthem before this Sunday’s game.

While Maryland does not appear to have banned the bet, The Sun could not find any on the books within the state. Twyman, the Maryland-based FanDuel official, said it is not being offered at the Live! casino. He said that was a decision left to FanDuel’s oddsmakers and that he was unsure of their reasoning.

Maryland has eight mobile sports betting operators. Another of their popular Super Bowl bets is on the outcome of the opening coin toss, a wager that some states bar and others permit.

“The coin toss is oddly popular,” said Alexander Monahan, co-founder of OddsJam, which provides odds comparisons across many books.

“I think it’s the quick-hitting high,” Monahan said. “It’s like (betting on) the first pitch in baseball. People don’t want to watch a full baseball game.”

Maryland has become fertile ground for sports betting companies, particularly those with mobile apps. More than $478 million was wagered on mobile sports bets in December, the first full month it was available, according to Maryland Lottery and Gaming. Another $18.8 million wagered at casinos and other retail, in-person locations.

States with longer gambling histories far eclipse Maryland in sports betting. Nevada and New Jersey have each had months in which they handled more than $1 billion.


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