NFL betting sets new highs on opening weekend, data shows

·2 min read

As states continue authorizing legal gambling on sports and with the arrival of football season, the number of Americans betting through regulated means has more than doubled compared to last season, according to data compiled by GeoComply.

The company, whose technology ensures mobile bettors are wagering within proper jurisdictions, reported a 126% increase in wagers during the Thursday-Sunday window of NFL opening weekend, from 25.8 million in 2020 to 58.2 million bets this year.

New Jersey led all states with the highest number of transactions (12.5 million) ahead of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona — where sports betting went live Thursday — and Illinois. New Jersey (21.4%) and Pennsylvania (19.8%) accounted for a bulk of the wagering.

GeoComply managing director of gaming Lindsay Slader said the volume of bets exceeded the already-high expectations.

"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," Slader said in a release. "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."

A customer looks over NFL matchups inside FanDuel Sportsbook at the Footprint Center in Phoenix.
A customer looks over NFL matchups inside FanDuel Sportsbook at the Footprint Center in Phoenix.

In Arizona, GeoComply reported 271,000 sportsbook accounts were created in four days to fuel the 6.1 million bets placed there.

DraftKings sportsbook director Johnny Avello told ESPN on Sunday "it's probably going to be one of our biggest weekends ever." Additionally, PointsBet reported record betting interest for a NFL Sunday.

Underdogs went 11-4 against the spread (with eight outright victories) on the first weekend. The Baltimore Ravens are four-point favorites against the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday Night Football.

Follow Chris Bumbaca on Twitter @BOOMbaca.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NFL Week 1 betting sets new highs as Arizona legalizes sports gambling