Online Super Bowl Box Pools A Risky Option With Legal Sportsbooks Available

Written By Chris Imperiale on February 11, 2022 - Last Updated on February 26, 2022
West Virginia sportsbooks offer legal online betting squares for Super Bowl LVI

Fans of the NFL have been enjoying the Super Bowl through gambling for a while now, way before any legal online sportsbooks launched.

For years, diehards and casuals alike have participated in box pools, or squares pools, to see if they can turn a few dollars into a sizable payout.

Of course, the expansion of the internet made these unlicensed pools readily available everywhere, regardless of their credibility.

So, with less than a week until Super Bowl 56, many are probably looking for where they can join one of these pools. Typically, box pools include a relatively small entry fee.

Since they include 100 total spots to fill, most feature fairly hefty payouts, depending on their structure.

However, with West Virginia sportsbooks active for use in the market and many others around the US, NFL bettors don’t need to utilize these unregulated pools.

It should also be noted that it’s illegal in the majority of states for an individual to run a box pool through the internet without the proper license.

Let’s examine the risk in these options and the alternatives that are out there for the upcoming Super Bowl.

The problem with unregulated Super Bowl pools

There are several issues with unlicensed online pools you might see pop up during the week of the Super Bowl.

While lots of different locations around the country offer legal sports betting, that doesn’t mean others can, too. You must be a verified provider that undergoes several rounds of testing before receiving the necessary permits.

Currently, no state that allows sports betting has reduced or decriminalized the act of providing an illegal sportsbook or pool.

Technically, creating one of these contests for the Super Bowl falls under the category of forming an illegal lottery. They consist of an entry fee, a prize and chance, thus making them like other illegal lotteries.

There are certain ways to run one of these squares pools that will likely keep you out of trouble. Keeping it just among friends and not using the internet in any way is a good start.

Letting the general public have access to your pool or advertising on the internet for others to join can alert the authorities. Pools that involve lots of money also attract more attention.

It’s possible that if your pool generated enough action, licensed operators could look to interfere as well.

Most cases never reach this point, but you never know.

It’s wise to avoid putting yourself in a position where you could face legal backlash. Instead of creating a Super Bowl box pool, just join one that a friend is hosting.

If you want to play it safe and ensure you’re not partaking in illegal activity, then you can find plenty of other options through regulated sportsbooks.

DraftKings Squares for Super Bowl LVI

Bettors in the Mountain State can take full advantage of the completely free Super Bowl pool presented at DraftKings Sportsbook WV.

It offers its Big Game Squares for Sunday’s Super Bowl, where your free entry can win you a portion of $75,000 in prizes.

Like any other box pool, you select which square you want without knowing which numbers you’ll be assigned. DraftKings allows you to pick your spot, then you can view which numbers you have once the game gets underway.

For those unfamiliar with how these pools work, you’re looking to match your assigned digits to the correlating team’s score. Last year, the box to have was a one for Tampa Bay and a nine for Kansas City.

The final score of 31-9 gave a quality payout to whoever was lucky enough to own the 1-9 combination.

DraftKings’ version, along with most, declares winners after each quarter of the game. Hitting your score for any of the breaks would be great, but the halftime and final score are worth substantially more.

The online sportsbook shows the following pay structure:

  • First quarter – $11,250
  • Halftime – $22,500
  • Third quarter – $11,250
  • Final – $30,000

All the payouts come in the form of cash, as opposed to site credit or a free bet. DraftKings users are limited to one entry per account.

It also gives you the option to create a private squares contest, where you can invite family and friends into a personal pool.

The two routes cover the best of both worlds, where you can compete for bragging rights against your friends while having a chance to win big money.

If you plan to enter this contest, make sure to select your space before the start of the Super Bowl. It’s scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. EST this Sunday.

Photo by AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez
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Chris Imperiale

Chris Imperiale covers sports betting and the online casino industries. He has a journalism degree from Rutgers University and was formerly on staff at Bleacher Report.

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