Number of NFL Bets Doubled During Season Opening Weekend

Number of NFL Bets Doubled During Season Opening Weekend
© USA Today

With states continuing to legalize sports betting and operators seeking new markets, the industry has continued to grow. According to data from GeoComply Solutions, the number of bets placed in the last year has doubled.

The effect of new legislation and the emergence of more online sportsbooks was evident in the first regular-season weekend of the NFL. Across 18 states and the District of Columbia, there were 58.2 million geolocation transactions from Thursday through Sunday. That number was a 126% increase from the same period of the 2020 NFL season when GeoComply processed 25.8 million transactions.

“Preparing for this NFL season has been a process that began before the end of last season, and we expected high volumes, but what we have seen has surprised us nonetheless,” Lindsay Slader, Managing Director of Gaming for GeoComply, said in a media release. “The level of demand across new markets, such as Arizona, indicates that consumers have long waited for the option to legally place a sports bet.”

“The data tells a remarkable story about the growth of the industry in a short period of time. This success is a credit to all our clients and state regulators, who have worked tirelessly to prepare for the start of the new NFL season.”

New Jersey (12.5 million), Pennsylvania (11.5 million), Michigan (7.5 million), Arizona (6.1 million) and Illinois (4.8 million) were the five states that recorded the highest volume of transactions during the NFL opening weekend.

Arizona is the latest state to introduce online sports betting after going live on Thursday. The state’s 6.1 million geolocation transactions are from more than 271,000 new accounts.

“Arizona is showing that there is pent-up demand for sports betting in the western part of the U.S. In just its first weekend, the state has catapulted near the top as the 4th largest state for transactions. We haven’t seen anything quite like it,” Slader said in the release. “I am immensely proud of the GeoComply team who has put in thousands of hours to ensure a seamless and most importantly, safe start to the NFL season. Whether it’s confirming location, verifying identities or detecting and thwarting possible fraud, our geolocation compliance and security solutions are committed to support the regulated online gaming environment.”

GeoComply will release its data findings throughout the 2021-22 calendar to inform and bring discussions forward about the U.S. sports betting industry.

Rise Aligns with AGA Study

Two days before the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Dallas Cowboys kicked off the 2021-22 NFL season, the American Gaming Association (AGA) predicted this would be the season with the most NFL betting to date. According to a study by the AGA, 45.2 million Americans (18%) planned to wager on the NFL. The AGA also expects 36% more Americans will place a bet on any of the games for this season.

As it stands, Americans can place a sports bet in 26 states and Washington D.C. Five additional states are also likely to offer legal sports betting by the end of the season.

“Sports betting is more popular than ever among Americans, and the enthusiasm of bettors for the upcoming NFL season highlights the remarkable growth of the industry over the past three years,” AGA President and CEO Bill Miller said. “Importantly, when the 2021 NFL season begins, more than 111 million American adults will be able to wager safely with regulated sportsbooks in their home states rather than with the predatory illegal market.”

The NFL has embraced the sports betting industry. Since 2018, the league and its teams have formed 52 sports betting and data sharing agreements.

Research from the AGA shows 37% of NFL fans are willing to bet on this year’s NFL season, including 47% of the self-described avid NFL fans who plan to make a wager on a game.

“Fans are the heartbeat of professional sports, and leagues like the NFL are realizing the full potential of sports betting to drive fan engagement,” Miller said. “To capitalize on this tremendous opportunity, the NFL and its 32 teams must also realize their responsibility to educate fans and promote responsible gaming.”