NFL Week 1 Sports Betting Traffic Up 71% from 2021, Says GeoComply

Posted on: September 12, 2022, 11:05h. 

Last updated on: September 13, 2022, 03:19h.

The first week of the NFL season was a solid one for online sports betting operators. Cybersecurity solutions provider GeoComply announced Monday that it tracked more than 103 million geolocation checks from sportsbooks in legal US markets.

Ja'Marr Chase
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja’marr Chase catches a pass from Joe Burrow in the late stages of the Bengals’ 23-20 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati.  (Image: Joshua Bickel/Associated Press)

With five more states allowing online wagering at the start of the season compared to last year, the number of geolocation checks – an action GeoComply takes to ensure the bettor is physically in the state where betting is allowed, and the sportsbook is licensed – was certain to go up. GeoComply CEO Anna Sainsbury noted the increase from last year was 71.5%.

The growth of legal betting suggests that Americans are ditching offshore sportsbooks for regulated options in their home states,” Sainsbury said. “This is exactly the outcome legislators and regulators looked to achieve through legalization as they now protect consumers and increase tax revenues.”

GeoComply provides geolocation and geofencing services for nearly all regulated operators in the United States. Geolocation checks don’t necessarily equal the number of sports betting transactions. But GeoComply has said it’s still a strong indicator of wagering activity.

“GeoComply has worked hand in glove with our customers over the off-season to ensure a seamless and, most importantly, safe start to the NFL season,” Sainsbury said.

Spoiler Alert: New York No. 1

The 103.1 million geolocation checks took place from Thursday, when the Buffalo Bills and Los Angeles Rams kicked off the season in a primetime affair, through Sunday night ET, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Dallas Cowboys capped off a full Sunday of action.

There was no surprise about what state topped the charts for Week 1. New York, the most populous state that’s legalized online sports betting, produced 15.7 million geolocation checks, according to GeoComply.

However, some other states produced intriguing numbers. Second, on the list was Pennsylvania. In and of itself, that’s not surprising since New York’s neighbor to the south is also the second-largest sports betting state in terms of population. Despite having about 6.5 million fewer people than New York, the Keystone State finished the weekend with 15.3 million checks.

Perhaps that was a result of a bunch of excited-then-anxious-then-excited-again Pittsburgh Steelers fans.

Next on the list was New Jersey, with 13.5 million checks, followed by Michigan, which had 9.7 million. Illinois rounded out the top five with 8 million.

The next five states were Arizona (7.2 million), Virginia (6.1 million), Indiana (4.7 million), Tennessee (4.6 million), and Kansas (3.6 million).

Older Sports Betting States See Traffic Rise

The increase in traffic from last year to this year wasn’t just because of the arrival of new states. The four states directly behind New York had nearly 9.5 million more checks combined than last year.

Illinois saw traffic jump by 60%. That can mostly be attributed to the end of the mandate earlier this year for bettors needing to register at the sponsoring casino for online sports betting accounts.

Pennsylvania’s traffic increased by 3.5 million, or nearly 30%. Michigan experienced a 2 million check increase, while New Jersey’s sportsbooks saw a bump of 900K.