I Made My First Sports Bets On Super Bowl LVI. Here Are My Thoughts.

Written By Robyn McNeil on February 15, 2022 - Last Updated on February 18, 2022
Self reflection. A woman sits on a wooden pier. Sky is filled with soft pink and purple above the lake

On Super Bowl Sunday, the LA Rams beat the Cincinnati Bengals with a fourth-quarter touchdown.

Despite the best efforts of Joe Burrow and his team, that touchdown turned out to be the nail in the coffin for Cincy’s ring aspirations. The final score of 23-20 also dashed any hopes I had of making a return on my first-ever sports bets, placed earlier in the day via the Atlantic Lottery Corporation app.

In the aftermath of my “big loss” (I wagered a whopping $10), I took some time to reflect on the whole experience.

Here’s my takeaway.

Oh, thinking about my younger years

I should start with an admission of sorts.

Historically, I’ve not been one for most mainstream sports. As a very young girl, I collected baseball cards and followed teams based on family loyalties.

As I grew up, however, my feelings about the big games changed. The sports themselves were fine if you actually played them, but I found the cultural trappings around pro leagues rather distasteful. And, frankly, I never liked feeling expected to enter fandoms that, for a 70s kid, weren’t especially welcoming to women and girls.

As a teen, I was more interested in the X Games than the Olympics when it came to fangirling. That said, also I’ve played soccer, basketball and ringette. I’ve curled and competed in track and field. I was a terrible figure skater. I even met my BFF at a church festival because of a Celtics shirt. And if Joey McIntyre from NKOTB hadn’t gotten swarmed during the seventh-inning stretch at Fenway, I would’ve met 90s Roger Clemens.

But I also come from a big, extended family of sports fans, so I watched my share of games in my younger years. And, as it turns out, the hours spent watching had more impact than I thought.

Over the last year, I’ve embraced relearning to watch popular sports. One of the things I’ve been most surprised about is how soothing I find it, particularly hockey which was always my least favourite. The sounds of blades gliding over ice, wooden sticks clacking, an announcer’s melodic cadence; all offer a massage for my brain.

Weirdly, it’s been kind of like coming home again.

Fashionably late and ready to gooooo

So, yeah, I’m late to the party. But I’m not the only one.

According to the American Gaming Association, a record 31.4 million American adults planned to bet on Super Bowl LVI. That’s a 35% increase over 2021. And the estimated $7.61 billion bettors were expected to wager on this year’s championship game (legally and illegally), a 78% jump.

A lot of that increase is actually due to legalization efforts. As more states come online, more people feel safe gambling legally on a regulated site.

In Canada, it’s a bit different. Right now, we’re only legally permitted to wager on platforms run by provincial lotteries. Despite what anyone says, if you’re Canadian and betting elsewhere, you’re betting outside the law. And unfortunately, most Canadians don’t seem aware of the difference or the risk.

This will change for Ontario when they welcome private operators to their market on April 4. But, until then, choices are limited to existing provincial offerings.

When it comes to my province, Nova Scotia, we were tardier than most.

In spite of the legal change that removed the ban on single-event bets this past summer, Nova Scotia only began allowing single wagers on Feb. 11. And this despite the three other Atlantic provinces welcoming singles shortly after the feds gave the OK.

In any case, before the 11th, I could only make parlay bets, which didn’t really strike my fancy as an admitted novice. But when singles entered the chat, the idea of giving wagering a try became more appealing.

So I gave it a go.

Betting on the Super Bowl. For Science.

As mentioned, to bet legally in Nova Scotia, you’re dependent on ALC.

Initially, I looked for a standalone ALC Proline app, assuming that because Ontario Lottery and Gaming had one, other provinces would too. In this assumption, however, I was wrong. Everything from lotto sales to sports betting to ticket checking happens on a central app in the Atlantic provinces.

Which, OK, cool. I already had that. (I tend to buy Lotto Max when I get gas and check my tickets using the app.)

What wasn’t cool, however, was the ease of use. Unfortunately, at least for me, the app’s sports betting functions were far from intuitive and offered a fair bit of frustration. Also, there were still just a few singles options available via Stadium Bets. Although ALC gets some leeway there, it was only the third day they were on offer, after all.

I’m definitely interested to see how things evolve as time passes.

For now, however, my experience only made me hope NS eventually allows private companies to operate within our borders. While I don’t expect our tiny province to blow the doors open like Ontario, perhaps something akin to Alberta’s approach is more apropos.

If absolutely nothing else, I hope ALC considers a standalone solution that behaves more like a proper sports betting app.

The opposite of winning is losing. I lost

Despite those minor inconveniences, I found having that extra bit of skin in the game made watching more exciting. Yes, even though I lost.

However, one thing I’ll do differently next time is place smarter bets.

Something vital about me: I will always cheer for the underdog in the absence of a clear favourite. This rule is true in life and sports.

But, given my newness to American football’s nuances, I would have been better off hedging my bets. I certainly would have lost a bit less and possibly even made a few bucks if I bet with my head, not my heart.

However, since I only wagered an amount I could afford to lose, the result did little to sully my experience. That said, I imagine it’s a lot more fun to come out on top.

Perhaps next time, I’ll get my chance to find out.

Photo by Shutterstock
Robyn McNeil Avatar
Written by
Robyn McNeil

Robyn McNeil is a Nova Scotia-based writer and editor. She lives in Halifax in an empty nest with a mischievous cat and a penchant for good stories, strong tea, cheeseburgers, yoga, graveyards, hammocks, gardening, games, herb, and hoppy beer.

View all posts by Robyn McNeil
Privacy Policy