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.
While it’s up to sportsbook operators to decide what bets to offer on and around Sunday’s big game, Maryland is giving them plenty of leeway. The state lagged behind neighboring jurisdictions in legalizing sports betting, but now the regulatory system is up and running, it’s among the most permissive in the nation on what sorts of creative wagers it will allow.
As kickoff for the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs approaches, sports betting is legal in nearly three dozen states. Each decides for itself which wagers are in bounds.
Novelty bets are a Super Bowl tradition, but many states consider some wagers — such as the duration of 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 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 the commonwealth 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 length of the “The Star-Spangled Banner” performance 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 other states, Maryland doesn’t single out specific NFL wagers that are banned.
“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.”
The Morning Sun
In an informal search, The Sun found few mobile sportsbooks outside Maryland permitting bets on how long it takes country musician Chris Stapleton to sing the national anthem at State Farm Stadium in Arizona. Many states’ regulators reject anthem bets 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 U.S. state regulators’ jurisdiction.
While Maryland does not appear to have banned the bet, The Sun could not find it 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.
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Maryland has eight mobile sports betting operators. One of their popular Super Bowl bets is 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.
“It’s the quick-hitting high,” Monahan said. “It’s like the first pitch in baseball. People don’t want to watch a full baseball game.”