Sports gambling has been legal here in Illinois for a bit less than a year, and for those who love to get in on the action, this Sunday's Super Bowl is a big attraction.

However, if you're one who has downloaded one of the many sports betting apps out there, the question of whether or not you can place wagers on Sunday's "big game" has an answer of both yes and no.

Yes, to betting on the game itself. No, to placing what are called "novelty" or "prop" bets.

The Associated Press (AP) reports that Illinois Gaming Board Administrator Marcus Fruchter is on record as saying that our state's gaming board is only going to allow wagering on “activity directly within the control or jurisdiction of the NFL and or individuals subject to the NFL integrity policy.”

The AP story goes on to point out the while Mr. Fruchter thinks that novelty bets will help grow the sports-gambling industry, Fruchter also thinks that integrity must reign over all things when it comes down to placing your bets.

Does that make sense to you?

Not being inclined to wager on much of anything, including sports, Fruchter's announcement left me scratching my head in confusion. I think I understand what he's saying about "activity directly within the control and jurisdiction of the NFL." I take that to mean that if it takes place during on-field play, you can bet on it. If it's not part of the game itself, you can't.

But why?

The WROK Morning Show's resident sports-gambling "expert" is our own Joe Dredge. I asked him what he thought about the "no novelty bet" situation, and to put it mildly, he's not a fan of the idea. He thinks that if the sports-gambling industry is trying to grow, it's somewhat stupid and ultimately fruitless to ban the same bets that people from all over the country are free to make. He wonders if the Illinois Gaming Board is worried that casual sports betters will suddenly become serious sports betters if they're allowed to bet on the novelty and prop bets.

Isn't that like a beer company only allowing people who already drink their product to buy more of it? A car company that says they only want people who've owned one of their models before to buy a new one?

For those unfamiliar with novelty/prop bets, Sports Illustrated has a list of the ones being wagered on this year. Things like:

  • How many Players will miss game due to COVID? (Over/Under 1 1/2)
  • Length of US National Anthem (Over/Under 2 minutes)
  • Color of liquid poured on winning coach (Orange 5/4, Red/Pink 3/1, Yellow/Green/Lime 4/1, Purple 6/1, Clear 6/1, Blue 7/1)

View the full prop bet list by clicking here.


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