NFL Hopes to Carry Strong Week 1 Betting Totals to Week 2

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A Minnesota Vikings fan on September 12, 2021 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Andy Lyons/Getty Images/AFP

The end of the long and painful summer sports betting season is over thanks to the start of the NFL campaign. Week 1 betting numbers are in, and they showed renewed and impressive betting momentum at the country’s sportsbooks that coincided with the first weekend of football action. Hopes are that Week 1 was just a sign of things to come as September rolls on and the NFL season kicks into overdrive.

Analysts are pointing to more than one reason for the wagering spike that took place during the first 12 days of the month. New jurisdictions, new sportsbooks and the kickoff of the industry’s bread-and-butter football season all contributed to some welcome relief for the broad US legal sports betting scene.

Breaking Down the Figures

Numbers for the first 12 days of September sports wagering, which included the 4-day period that encompassed the Week 1 slate of NFL action were released by GeoComply Solutions, a Canadian-based fraud prevention and cybersecurity solutions company. They revealed a better-than-expected increase in traffic for the nation’s online sportsbooks.

GeoComply identified an incredible 58.2 million geolocation transactions across 18 of the 26 states operating in the US legal sports betting industry for the time period spanning Thursday, September 9 through Sunday, September 12. That bests the Week 1 betting total from the 2020 NFL campaign by 126%, when 25.8 million transactions were reported. It’s the highest four-day total of betting transactions ever for the US market.

If all 26 states currently operating their own platforms were included, the transaction figure obviously would have been much higher.

The Year-Over-Year Difference

The overall acceptance and embrace of the NFL to the wagering industry has contributed to the difference in the betting activity seen across the broad US sporting scene. The mainstreaming, accessibility and general popularity of NFL betting from the same period in 2020 was definitely evident.

There are now 26 states plus Washington DC allowing sports betting this NFL season – five states have been welcomed to the family in just the last month. Obviously, with the increase in states allowing sports betting has come a dramatic increase in total wagering transactions.

New states and new betting providers battling for wagering dollars has made for an attractive market for customers in all of those states, affecting seasoned betters and welcoming a new wagering public into their fold.

From Black Market to Regulated Books

The goal of taking money off of the black market and bringing them into legislated, regulated US sportsbooks is working. Offshore sportsbooks have been adversely affected by US wagering legalization, keeping gambling dollars in the country and creating a new revenue stream for states via taxation.

“In what can only be a sign of dismal days to come for the illegal market, data compiled by GeoComply Solutions Inc. reveals that in just one-year, legal online sports betting volumes have more than doubled,” a company release stated. “The combination of new sports betting states and American consumers migrating to legal sportsbooks has resulted in the highest four-day stretch of geolocation transactions ever recorded by GeoComply.”

Where We Saw the Biggest Spikes

GeoComply was able to track just where the biggest sports betting spikes took place and where the most bets were reported during Week 1 of the NFL season. The states that landed within the top 5 included four previously Heavyweight jurisdictions as well as a newcomer that came onto the scene September 9.

To nobody’s surprise, New Jersey led the way with 21.4% of the Week 1 NFL betting transactions (12.5 million transactions) and Pennsylvania was next with 19.8%. Michigan, Arizona, and Illinois rounded out the top 5 highest-transaction states.

More to Come

The 58.2 million geolocation transactions for a four-day period could be just the tip of the iceberg for the US wagering scene. There are as many as eight other states that could be coming into the fold sometime this NFL season.

Connecticut, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Ohio, North Carolina and Washington State are all slated to welcome their own platform between now and February – some have already seen rollouts. Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts and Ohio are all expected to be massive markets for sportsbooks to begin exploiting in the next few months.

Records are about to become a theme once again in the US legal sports betting industry. With interest in NFL wagering at an all-time high, expect more incredible numbers from GeoComply and others tracking the wagering activity in the US market. It is going to be a fun ride for the US legal sports betting scene between now and February – guaranteed.