Some people hold bitcoin because it is sound money. Some buy it because they want to speculate. But there is an old connection between investors and bitcoin that you might have forgotten.
One of the biggest sports, entertainment and betting events of the year is always the Super Bowl. Some of the first services in the world to accept bitcoin were online sportsbooks and casinos. And with the number of sportsbooks that accept bitcoin, as well as the price of bitcoin itself, rising exponentially since those days, Bitcoin and Super Bowl betting have never been more closely tied.
That’s why this year, for Super Bowl LV, it’s worth remembering an old connection between football and Bitcoin that you may have forgotten, to think about why bitcoin makes sense for gambling online and to evaluate the most interesting bets that you can make on the big game.
The Bitcoin Bowl
This year, the Super Bowl will return to the place of the first and only Bitcoin Bowl. Yes, you read correctly: The Bitcoin Bowl was held in 2014, sponsored by BitPay. It was a college football bowl game that is now known as the Gasparilla Bowl.
Much like the commercialization of soccer cup games, such as the Emirates FA Cup and the Carabao Cup in the U.K., many of the college football bowls have sponsors. Long before the SegWit wars, BitPay sponsored the Bitcoin Bowl to spread the bitcoin gospel and promote “mass adoption.” The event took place at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida — just shooting distance away from where this year’s Super Bowl will be held in Tampa. As the price of bitcoin suffered an epic dump at the end of 2014, so did the sponsorship budget of BitPay and just about every other Bitcoin-related company and thus, the Bitcoin Bowl was no more. The HODLers of the first, and maybe last, Bitcoin Bowl championship are the North Carolina State Wolfpack, which defeated the University of Central Florida Knights by a score of 34 to 27.
Americans gamble more than $6 billion on Super Bowls. With sports betting becoming legal in many U.S. states, there are likely more people than ever before who will wager on this game. However, sports betting is still not legal everywhere in the country and the sportsbooks that do operate do not always want to take big bets and may limit the betting of some players.
It stands to reason that offshore sportsbooks (the term for any sportsbook that might take players from particular geographical regions) are probably using bitcoin for withdrawals and deposits at all-time highs. Bitcoin is now the preferred method for many to get funds in and out of most offshore sportsbooks and casinos.
“Last year we had close to $1.5 million in bets across all markets,” Eddie Miroslav, owner of Stake.com, told Bitcoin Magazine. “However our sportsbook product was relatively new. This year, given the recent surge in online betting and the current volume during the playoffs, we’d expect no less than $10 million.”
“We can confirm that (the Super Bowl) is one of the most popular events when it comes to placing orders at Fairlay,” a support representative of the Fairlay bitcoin exchange and prediction market said.
This Time, It’s Different
Not only will the Super Bowl return to the stomping grounds of the Bitcoin Bowl this year, but for the first time ever there will be a home team playing in the game.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, led by quarterback Tom Brady (formerly of the New England Patriots), have done the unthinkable and will effectively be the home team in the game (ironically enough during a pandemic when attendance will be limited). But even if this game could be called the Corona Bowl, there will be about a third of the capacity at Raymond James Stadium — still about 22,000 fans. Brady will try to get his seventh Super Bowl ring, while the 25-year-old quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs, Patrick Mahones, will try to repeat what he accomplished last year and win back-to-back Super Bowls.
What Can You Bet On?
The Super Bowl offers up a long list of things you can bet on. Anything from who wins, the total score of both teams combined, what the first song of the halftime show will be, the result of the coin toss and the length of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Before the first whistle signals the kickoff, you could have become rich or rekt, depending on your bets.
As of this writing, the favorites to win the game are the Kansas City Chiefs at 1.60 (-170) and the underdogs are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 2.50 (+150). What do all those numbers mean? If you bet 1 BTC on the Chiefs to win, you can win 0.6 BTC and have a total of 1.6 BTC if they win. If you bet 1 BTC on the Buccaneers, you can win 1.50 BTC and have a total of 2.50 BTC if they win.
Some other bets for your consideration: What will be said first, “COVID“ or “Pandemic“? What will the temperature at kickoff be? How many times will “Trump” be said? Who will the Super Bowl MVP be? Will any player kneel on the sideline during the anthem? And many other things.
The Super Bowl is a time for everyone to eat junk food, bet on things they normally wouldn’t and have a good time. But this time, it is different. Will we see a rise in the bitcoin price from demand to use it as a medium for betting? Or maybe people will decide the fees are too high and that they should use bitcoin cash to bet with… not.
In any case, let us know what your picks are for Super Bowl LV. If you have any questions about betting on the Super Bowl with bitcoin, hit me up on Twitter or Telegram. And get rekt at your own risk.
This is a guest post by Theo Goodman. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.