Gladys Knight causes prop bet controversy with anthem

Gladys Knight created the first controversy of Super Bowl LIII, at least for those who bet on how long her rendition of the national anthem would last.

Such bets are only taken via unregulated offshore sportsbooks – and it took nearly the entire first half of the game to figure out exactly how long it took the Empress of Soul to belt out The Star-Spangled Banner. The over/under was set at 1 minute, 50 seconds, and the offshore sportsbook eventually announced Knight clocked in at 1:49.5.

The fine print on the bet stated the anthem is timed “from moment she starts singing until the note ‘brave’ ends for first time.” The issue was Knight belted “brave” multiple times.

“At the end of the first ‘brave; the time was 1:49 – one second under the listed total of 1:50,” Sports Book Brand Manager Dave Mason told USA TODAY Sports. “After Ms. Knight’s second and third brave, the time went over 2:00. Even though the under was the official cover due to our listed rules, we decided to pay out Over bettors as well due to some being confused.”

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Nevada only allows bets for in-game action where there’s a definite result – and there are a couple reasons why the state sets that standard followed by the seven states that accepted bets for the Super Bowl for the first time since the Supreme Court’s decision to nullify a federal betting ban.

“These wagers are prohibited because somebody has information on the result,” Jay Kornegay, vice president of race and sports operations for the Westgate Las Vegas Sportsbook, told USA TODAY Sports.

Such bets are also much more subjective than who committed the first turnover, scores the first touchdown or even the coin toss – one of the hundreds of prop bets offered in Nevada. 

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