ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Online betting on the Super Bowl surged this year, with many gamblers waiting until right before the kickoff to place their wagers, according to a company that tracks the location of internet gamblers.
Data released Monday from GeoComply shows that the number of verification checks it carried out over the weekend increased by more than 22% from last year.
It processed just over 122 million checks this year in 28 of the 29 states that offer online sports betting, excluding Florida.
The company makes sure gamblers are where they say they are before permitting their online bets to go through, a process known as geolocation that is a foundation of online betting in the U.S.
The data records the number of times the company was called on to verify a customer’s location. It is considered a good indicator for at least a minimum level of sports betting activity, more than 80% of which is done online in the U.S.
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“The continued transition to the legal market set the stage for a historic first Super Bowl in Las Vegas, and the record-breaking results we saw did not disappoint,” said Anna Sainsbury, CEO and co-founder of Vancouver, Canada-based GeoComply.
The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers 25-22 Sunday night for their second consecutive NFL title.
States require a gambler to be physically located within their borders in order to make online bets. Geolocation technology uses a combination of cellphone data, software, hardware and databases to determine where a phone or laptop trying to make a bet is actually located at a given moment.
While it is true that customers can log in and have their location verified without actually placing a bet, many gamblers also make more than one bet after a single login.
Throughout Super Bowl weekend, GeoComply saw a total of 8.5 million active accounts, up 15% from last year’s Super Bowl.
During the two weeks leading up to the big game, the company saw more than 1.77 million new users sign up for legal online betting accounts.
Since the start of the 2023-2024 NFL season, customers have added more than 13.7 million new accounts, a 28% increase from last season.
And as usual, many people waited until the last moment to place bets. The company said that minutes before kick-off, it saw a massive spike in traffic totaling nearly 15,000 transactions per second. This was the highest level ever recorded on GeoComply’s systems, nearly doubling last year’s peak.
The game going into to overtime for only the second time hit many sports books hard, having offered steep odds that it wouldn’t happen. And many bets were on the Chiefs to win, even though the 49ers entered the game as slight favorites.
Sportsbooks suffered a multimillion-dollar loss on the game going to overtime, a popular bet that paid about 9-to-1, said Craig Mucklow, vice president of trading for Caesars Sportsbook. He said Caesars lost seven figures alone on the overtime bet, with the average wager on it being $16.
Caesars did better on player props, many of which did not come to fruition. That includes bets on whether prominent players such as Travis Kelce, Isiah Pacheco, Deebo Samuel or Brandon Aiyuk would score a touchdown, which none of them did.
“It was a bad Super Bowl for the sportsbook,” said Tristan Davis, a senior trader at BetMGM. “Many bettors had the Chiefs winning and overs on popular player props,” referring to bets on individual player statistical performances.
FanDuel, the official odds provider for The Associated Press, said it took 14 million bets totaling $307 million, both of which set records. Those bets came from 2.5 million FanDuel customers.
DraftKings would not release figures Monday about its performance during the Super Bowl.
Several sportsbooks also issued odds for next year’s Super Bowl winner, with the 49ers slightly ahead of the Chiefs.
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