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Winning Super Bowl Swiftie prop bets are taxable income

Allegiant Stadium Las Vegas Raiders
Allegiant Stadium will be filled with 49ers and Chiefs fans Sunday as they vie for the NFL championship in Super Bowl LVIII. (Photo: Allegiant Stadium)

This Sunday, millions will watch the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers face off in Las Vegas to determine the National Football League's championship.

With the Sin City location, it's fitting that a record 67.8 million American adults are expected to bet on Super Bowl LVIII. That's a 35 percent increase from 2023, according to a new American Gaming Association (AGA) survey.

The dollar amount also is up this year. Bettors plan to wager an estimated $23.1 billion on the NFL's biggest event, up from $16 billion last year.

It wasn't that long ago that the NFL, like all other major U.S. professional sports leagues, shunned any connection to gambling. That changed with the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruling in 2018 to allow states to decide whether to legalize sports betting within their borders.

Now the NFL, like other sports leagues, partners with major betting operations. And, of course, the Super Bowl this year is in the Las Vegas Raiders' Allegiant Stadium home.

Sports gambling growth: The expansion of legal sports betting has help drive traditional Super Bowl wagers past casual wagers for a second consecutive year.

This year, the AGA data shows that of the almost 68 million expected bets, 42.7 million will be placed as a traditional sports wager online, at a retail sportsbook, or with a bookie. That's a 41 percent increase from 2023.

Another 36.5 million adult bettors plan to wager casually with friends, or as part of a pool or squares contest. That's up 32 percent from 2023.

Super Bowl LVIII 2024 AGA betting survey

The AGA also notes that Americans continue to migrate to the legal market since the high court ruling. This year, 28.7 million adults, or 11 percent, intend to place online wagers using a legal U.S. sportsbook, according to the membership organization for the gaming industry.

And most don't have to go far to bet. The AGA says more than two-thirds of American adults — 67 percent or 164 million — live in a live, legal sports betting market, which are found in 38 states and Washington, D.C.

So who are these bettors picking right now to win? It's close, but 47 percent of the participants in the AGA survey, conducted by Morning Consult, said they'll put their money on the Chiefs, with 44 percent betting the Niners will win.

Current odds, however, have the San Francisco team a slight favorite to lift the Lombardi Trophy.

That would be a thrill for long-time, long-suffering fans. Although the northern California team has five wins in seven Super Bowl appearances, the last time they were crowned champions was in 1995, when in Super Bowl XXIX at Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami they outscored the San Diego Chargers 49-to-26.

Propensity for prop betting: But the final outcome on the field is just one part of the betting. Myriad other bets known as prop bets, short for propositions also are placed each Super Bowl.

Many are game related, such what will be the first score by which team and which specific player (or players if it's a pass). But others have little to do with actual football.

These often goofy prop bets are so popular that many who don't care at all about the game tune in to watch at least part of it to see whether their wagers pay off.

Here are some annual prop bet standards:

  • Will the coin toss come up heads or tails? Will the coin toss winner defer?
  • What color Gatorade will be poured over winning players and coaches? I'm going with red, since a variation of that color is the main hue for both teams.
  • Will the winning coach thank god or his family first?
  • As for the halftime show, which of his many hits will Usher sing first? The popular pick is his 2004 hit "Yeah!" The song stayed No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 12 consecutive weeks, and has been used in multiple TV shows and movies.
 
  • How long will it take country star Reba McEntire to sing the National Anthem? If you're thinking of betting here, McEntire sang the Star-Spangled Banner before Game 3 of the 1997 World Series in an amazingly swift 84 seconds.

Yes, I went there.

We all know that even though Sunday is the spotlight moment — OK, actually close to six hours if you watch all the pre- and post-game shows — for the two NFL teams on the field, a lot of eyes will be looking at the box from which KC tight end Travis Kelce's girlfriend Taylor Swift will be cheering him and the team.

Bets for the Swifties: There are so, so many potential prop bets involving the record-setting Grammy award winner, Swift prop bets, starting with will she make it to the game on time? Probably, given the time difference between Tokyo, where she's performing Saturday night, and Las Vegas. But you never know.

Some sports betting apps are offering Taylor Swift specific odds. should arrive in plenty of time. DraftKings has a special Taylor Swift-themed prop bets "For the Swifties" tab inside its Super Bowl odds section. Forbes has created a Taylor Swift Super Bowl Prop Bet sheet.

My favorite Swift prop bet? I'm a romantic (really!) so it's gotta be whether there will be a Kelce-Swift marriage proposal on the field. I am not, however, a hard-core bettor, so I'm not placing this bet. If I did though, I'd go with "no."

If you want some actual NFL play-related prop bet possibilities, check out FanDuel's  downloadable props checklist; The Sporting News' interactive Party Props!; and SBD's two Super Bowl party downloadable props sheets, one for the hardcore football fan and one for the more casual fan.

Pay tax on your winnings: Some bettors roll their eyes at prop bets, like the one in a chat room who advised, "Casinos love these. Might as well just throw your money out the window."

But it's called gambling for a reason. You never know when you could get lucky.

If your Super Bowl or any other gambling forays do pay off, one sure bet is that the Internal Revenue Service will be happy. Gambling winnings are taxable income.

And Uncle Sam's tax collector is especially thrilled that more gamblers, per AGA data, are turning to legitimate betting outlets to place wagers.

When they win there, the gambling establishment generally takes down your personal data, including tax identification number (usually your Social Security number) and shares it and your financial specifics with the IRS.

You can read about how to let the IRS know of your winning bets in my post reporting all your income, including gambling winnings, on Form 1040 Schedule 1.

Rooting, if not betting, interest: Good luck to all who are placing bets. And despite my fear I might jinx them, I'm going to wish the Chiefs good luck, too.

No, it has nothing to do with Kelce and Swift. It's partly because #87's professional partner is Patrick Mahomes. KC's star quarterback is, like the hubby and me, a native Texan. Plus, also like the hubby and me, he went to Texas Tech University.

I'm also a fan of the western Missouri team because they started out in 1959 as the Dallas Texans, a charter member of the American Football League, before relocating to KC in 1963 and being redubbed the Chiefs.

Finally, I'm a lifelong Dallas Cowboys fan; insert boos and derisive laughter and, if you have any heart, a bit of sympathy here. I'm old enough to have watched Don Meredith, the original Doomsday Defense, Roger Staubach's heyday, and all them 'Boys' Super Bowl wins (from decades ago; oh, Jerry…).

That Cowboys' fandom also means living through Dwight Clark's catch in the January 1982 NFC Championship game. I will never forget or forgive. Go Chiefs!

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