Online sports betting sees a huge uptick from last year, indicating a busy year ahead

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The level of online betting activity during Thursday night’s NFL kickoff game jumped 77% from last year’s opener, according to a company that most players in the legal betting industry USA sportsbooks use to verify that its customers are where they say they are.

Data released Friday by GeoComply recorded 22.6 million location verification transactions Thursday leading up to and during the Buffalo Bills’ 31-10 win over the Los Angeles Rams.

That’s up from the 12.7 million such transactions since the 2021 season opener, and appears to point to “the biggest season yet” for legal NFL betting, the company said.

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The data records the number of times the company has been called to verify a customer’s location. It is considered a good indicator of at least a minimum level of sports betting activity, over 80% of which is conducted online in the United States.

States require a player to be physically located within their borders in order to place an online sports bet, which is where geolocation technology comes in. It uses a combination of cell phone data, software, hardware and databases to determine where a phone or laptop trying to make a bet is actually located.

Online gaming activity for Game 1 of the 2022 NFL season nearly doubled from a year ago, indicating strong demand for online gaming. Pictured: Josh Allen (right) and Matthew Stafford (left) embrace after the 2022 NFL season opener in September (AP Photo/Ashley Landis/AP Images)

While it is true that customers can login and have their location verified without placing a bet, many players also make more than one bet after a single login.

In New Jersey, the state whose 2018 U.S. Supreme Court victory allowed all 50 states to offer legal sports betting if they so choose, the level of geolocation transactions has increased by 550% since the opener of the 2018 NFL season.

And bettors in New York, which quickly became the nation’s largest sports betting market when it began taking bets online earlier this year, have made 3.7 million slot checks in the Bills home state.

The level of location checks in the Buffalo area on Sept. 1, a week before kickoff, was 86,400. As of Thursday night, that number jumped to 267,600, the company said.

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