It’s long been held that the most popular betting sport in US markets is NFL football, and the numbers from the first week of the NFL season 2022 seem to provide backing for that theory. Online betting activity has surged in the USA this past week, as the league’s 32 teams got ready to hit the field for real.
Data shared by GeoComply, a geolocation verification company, recorded that the volumes it handled up until midnight Eastern time were up 75.1% on the same period in 2021. This is important because GeoComply’s main market is sports betting companies checking that their customers are in the state they say they are in – a measure designed to avoid people betting from states that have not legalized sports betting. An increase of this degree indicates that the season start has been a fruitful time for sports betting operators.
There are some caveats to this information, of course. There are more states with legal betting at this time in 2022 than there were one year ago, with New York, Kansas, Louisiana and Arkansas all having legalized online sports betting since then. Therefore, of course numbers are going to be higher. However, the fact that they are so much higher is indicative that sports betting has grown significantly in popularity over the intervening period.
The geographic breakdown of numbers supports this suggestion, as Illinois – which had sports betting at the time of 2021’s kick-off – saw a 60% increase in volume by comparison with last year’s opening week. So, even within individual states, the numbers are up on 2021.
We’re still a little while away from having more in-depth figures on statistics such as the handle by each state within this week. It is believed, though, that New York will have enjoyed its best week ever where sports betting is concerned given that this is the first NFL season that has kicked off since the Empire State permitted online betting. All three teams in the state had played their game by the time the numbers were recorded, with Buffalo having taken part in the season’s opening game on Thursday night.
Kansas is another state which will have had an interesting week, as the state’s sports betting platforms went live shortly ahead of the season’s kick-off. Preliminary figures indicate that as many as 100,000 people in neighbouring Missouri attempted to place bets on Kansas betting sites, due in part perhaps to the fact that Kansas City lies across the border in Missouri state. While KC residents could certainly cross the border to make bets in Kansas state, they would have to do so at a licensed casino. Nonetheless, the volume of unsuccessful attempts to bet from Missouri indicates that sports betting in Kansas has a receptive audience.
Only time will tell whether this bumper first week for sports betting in the USA changes any minds in states which are yet to legalize betting, but it’s hard not to conclude that the opportunity to boost state revenue could have some lawmakers in the 14 states yet to pass legislation casting envious eyes across state lines.