Tracking Data Shows Major Increase in NFL Betting in Ohio

Tracking Data Shows Major Increase in NFL Betting in Ohio

It appears that quite a few new Ohio sports betting customers were waiting for the 2023 NFL season to kick off. That’s according to a new report issued Wednesday by GeoComply that found more than 133,000 new Ohio online sports betting accounts were created last week. Those new accounts make up nearly 16% of all active accounts in the state and more than 12% of all accounts created last week across the country.

Ohio played a huge role in the overall increase in traffic to legal sports betting operators. GeoComply tracked more than 242.3 million geolocation transactions during the opening week of the NFL season. That was up 56% from the previous year, and Ohio, where regulated operators did not launch until January, accounted for 19.4 million or 8% of last week’s transactions.

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What Are Geolocation Transactions?

Geolocation transactions verify a registered accountholder is in the proper state to place a bet. They occur when users log into their account and at other times while they remain online. So, GeoComply’s figure does not equal the number of wagers or attempted wagers placed with an operator. Still, the number is indicative of how much interest there is in sports betting in Ohio and other states.

In all, 24 states and the District of Columbia have legalized online sports wagering, and as many as five more states are expected to launch or resume online sports betting in the coming months. That includes neighboring Kentucky, where online operators can start taking bets on Sept. 28.

Data from GeoComply also shows how online sports bettors access their accounts. According to the report, 97% of the transactions the Vancouver-based company monitored across the U.S. came from mobile devices choosing Ohio betting apps. Apple is the preferred product for most sports bettors, as 75% of all transactions came from devices with iOS operating systems.

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Analysis: Ohio Market Likely Will Grow

Sports betting officially launched in Ohio on New Year’s Day, and since that launch, the Buckeye State has become one of the nation’s top markets. Through July, bettors have placed about $4.15 billion in wagers. Bets placed through mobile and online accounts represent more than 97% of the state’s handle.

Football season typically is the peak season for U.S. sports betting operators. Ohio’s best month so far this year was January, which included the final two weeks of the NFL season and the start of the playoffs. Bettors wagered more than $1.1 billion in that opening month, and the amount would have been even higher had the Jan. 2 Monday Night Football game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills not been canceled after Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac event during the contest. Bettors can track the Browns and Bengals’ playoff chances all season long.

Based on GeoComply’s data, which does not include all 19 active online operators in Ohio, it’s very likely the NFL regular season months will see handle totals that surpass January’s total. That’s even with a small hit the state’s operators are expected to take once Kentucky’s sports betting apps become active later this month.

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Steve is an accomplished, award-winning reporter with more than 20 years of experience covering gaming, sports, politics and business. He has written for the Associated Press, Reuters, The Louisville Courier Journal, The Center Square and numerous other publications. Based in Louisville, Ky., Steve has covered the expansion of sports betting in the U.S. and other gaming matters.

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