The start of a new NFL season resulted in strong engagement for legal sports betting operators.
The NFL kicked off last Thursday with a matchup between the Detroit Lions and Kansas City Chiefs. The primetime showdown would spark the interest of NFL fans and bettors across America. According to JMP Securities, online betting sites in the U.S. saw 972,000 app downloads — a 15% increase year-over-year.
The results were driven by an increase in fans and the addition of new markets that offer authorized betting. As a result, online gaming is projected to surpass 12 million users by 2024.
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The uptick in app downloads impacted some of the country’s largest sportsbooks. FanDuel, which made up 35% of the download market share in Week 1, saw users download its app 25% more compared to the same period last year. BetMGM — a joint venture between MGM Resorts and Entain — had a 1% year-over-year increase in downloads despite a 35% market share.
PointsBet, which recently sold its U.S. operations to Fanatics, experienced the largest jump in app downloads with a 226% increase year-over-year. The sportsbook, which is currently undergoing its scheduled rebrand, held a 4% download market share compared to 2% in 2022.
On the other hand, DraftKings — the second-largest sportsbook in the U.S. in terms of market share — saw its app downloads decline 8% compared to Week 1 in 2022. The company joined Caesars Entertainment, BallyBet, and PENN as operators with declined app downloads.
The increase in total users who downloaded sports betting apps during Week 1 resulted in a flurry of transactions for sportsbooks. According to GeoComply, the Week 1 game between the Lions and Chiefs roughly saw 4,200 transactions per second across U.S. operators following the contest’s first touchdown. Out of those transactions, 75% were from devices using iOS.
The pace is expected to continue throughout the NFL season. According to a recent American Gaming Association survey, 73.5 million Americans are expected to wager on the NFL this season — up nearly 58% compared to last year. Of the 19% of Americans who plan to wager on the NFL this year, around 14% of that group expect to use online sports betting operators.