The first weekend of the 2021 NFL season has come and gone, and it was a huge first few days for the US sports betting industry. Betting on the NFL is always the biggest market in the United States, but it was done on a much bigger level in 2021.
Many states launched sports betting either day before or on the start date of the 2021 NFL season. This was obviously done to help create some interest, but even the most established sports betting markets saw a boost as well.
GeoComply Solutions is a company that provides geolocation services to states with legal sports betting, and that company also tracks sports betting activity. The data from the first few days of NFL betting are in, and the numbers were staggering.
GeoComply tracked sports betting activity from 18 states and the District of Columbia and the first weekend produced a massive boost from one year ago. According to the report, there were 58.2 million geolocation transactions from Thursday to Sunday afternoon, an increase of 126 percent from one year ago.
The Thursday Night Football Game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Dallas Cowboys was the most-watched television event since last year’s Super Bowl. There was plenty of anticipation and excitement ahead of the 2021 NFL season, and sportsbooks were ready for it.
It comes as no surprise that New Jersey had 12.5 million pings during the first few days to lead the way when it came to activity. Pennsylvania was next on the list with 11.5 million unique pings, and this is another state that is one of the biggest markets.
The biggest surprise comes from the state of Arizona, as it just launched sports betting on September 9. Over 6 million pings from that state on opening weekend, making in the fourth biggest market in Week 1.
With these numbers, the total sports betting handle numbers for many states in September could shatter previous records.
AGA Predicted a Boom
The American Gaming Association predicted earlier this year that the US sports betting industry was about to see a significant boom when it came to the NFL season. In a study released to the public, the AGA announced that over 45 million Americans planned on wagering on the NFL this season, which is 18 percent of the US population.
This number is certainly eye-opening, but it became an even crazier statistic when the AGA announced that this would represent a 36 percent increase from a season ago. This was partly due to the fact that now over half of the states in the US have legal sports betting in place.
The National Football League was once a major opponent against legal sports betting in the United States, but the league has changed its stance of late. League officials have seen the importance of sports betting in the US and have allowed its teams to partner with sports betting operators.