Geolocation Data Shows Record Weekend for Legal US Online Sports Betting Markets

Posted on: January 25, 2021, 10:59h. 

Last updated on: January 26, 2021, 09:06h.

The penultimate weekend for the NFL was a busy one for US mobile sports bettors.

sports betting traffic
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (left) attempts a pass against the Buffalo Bills during Sunday’s AFC Championship game at Arrowhead Stadium. That game helped generate a record amount of legal online sports betting traffic, according to Conscious Gaming. (Image: Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Conscious Gaming announced late Sunday night there were more than 30 million geolocation transactions. It’s the most ever recorded in one weekend. Mobile sports betting apps use geolocation to confirm that users placing bets are physically in the legal jurisdiction.

The number of transactions represents a 260 percent increase in traffic from the same weekend last year. That growth came as a result of the ongoing expansion of legal sports betting in the US. Currently, 17 states and the District of Columbia allow mobile sports betting. That’s up from 10 this time last year.

Conscious Gaming is a philanthropic nonprofit organization established by gaming geofencing technology vendor GeoComply. It has developed PlayPause, a technology solution designed to allow bettors to self-exclude from online betting in multiple states. The technology can also be used to register individuals who are prohibited from placing bets because of state laws or league policies. That includes student-athletes, coaches, and team or school staff.

“As the industry grows, it is important for it to remain firmly committed to protecting problem bettors and putting additional processes in place to ensure the growth can be managed effectively and responsibly,” said Seth Palansky, Conscious Gaming’s vice president of corporate social responsibility.

New Sports Betting States a Quarter of Traffic

The weekend was a big one for sports, thanks to the NFL Conference Championship games and a UFC fight card. However, the start of online sports betting in Michigan and Virginia also helped boost those numbers.

Bettors in those states created 400,000 accounts and accounted for 7.5 million geolocation transactions, a quarter of all transactions nationwide.

Hundreds of thousands of people in Michigan and Virginia placed legal online bets for the first time this past weekend,” Palansky said. “This demonstrates that Americans will abandon illegal websites and the street corner bookie to place their trust in companies that are accountable, provide robust consumer protections and responsible gaming measures.”

GeoComply did not break down data by state. However, it noted that Michigan – and not New Jersey – claimed the title for busiest sports betting state based on transaction data.

Different Approaches to Launches

In Michigan, 10 sports betting operators rolled out their apps simultaneously on Friday afternoon. Those apps received licenses for online sports betting after establishing partnerships with either the state’s commercially licensed casinos in Detroit or the tribal venues located elsewhere.

The operators that launched in Michigan are DraftKings, William Hill, Barstool Sportsbook, TwinSpires, Golden Nugget, Rush Street, BetMGM, FanDuel, Wynn, and PointsBet.

Virginia’s launch wasn’t nearly as grand. But it involved three of the biggest names in the business.

FanDuel was the first to open shop in the commonwealth, as the Virginia Lottery approved its license last Thursday. The sports betting app is working with the NFL’s Washington Football Team, which has its team headquarters in Ashburn.

Because of that partnership, FanDuel will not count against the cap of 12 sports betting licenses the lottery can issue. They must award at least four.

On Sunday, the lottery announced DraftKings and BetMGM received their approvals to go-live.

Lottery officials received 25 applications for licenses.