Sunday’s divisional matchup between the Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills was huge for its potential Super Bowl implications, but it was also huge for Ohio sports bettors.
With both teams based in legal sports betting states and both commanding clout among devout fan bases, huge betting numbers were expected.
With the help of GeoComply, we are able to see some betting stats from the day of the big game. GeoComply is the internet security company that verifies user locations when they log onto or attempt to place a bet on an online sportsbook.
Turns out, Ohio more than held its own against a more mature sports betting market.
Ohio tops New York in sports betting transactions and user accounts
In a tweet on Monday, GeoComply posted an animated map of each state showing the locations of sports betting transactions that were completed throughout the day on Jan. 22. A log-in to a sportsbook or a bet placed is counted as a transaction.
Last night wrapped up the @NFL Divisional Round games with the Conference finals now decided!🏈
Check out Ohio and NY citizens legally betting on the game in their respective states📍
— GeoComply (@GeoComply) January 23, 2023
GeoComply provided PlayOhio with its official counts of transactions and user accounts on that day.
Ohio bettors made a total of 8.62 million transactions that Sunday, 38.5% more than the 6.22 million transactions in New York.
For context, New York has almost 8 million more residents than Ohio and is a huge sports betting market. In 2022, the state’s first year of online sports betting, New York set national records for yearly handle, total gross gaming revenue and tax revenue, according to PlayNY.
Bengals butchered the Bills. Will Ohio’s betting market put NY to shame too?
The Cincinnati Bengals shot out to an early lead over the Bills and never looked back, winning 27-10 and advancing to to play the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game this weekend.
Ohioans also ran up the score a little on New York when it comes to online sportsbook accounts. According to GeoComply, Ohioans had almost twice as many active user accounts as New Yorkers on Sunday. The official numbers show 888,000 user accounts in Ohio and 492,000 in New York.
Ohio’s numbers might be inflated by new users taking advantage of promotional deals and bonuses offered by multiple sportsbook apps. But the numbers are promising in a new market that is expected to be among the top-five largest in the country.
Another promising illustration of Ohio’s potential: During the state’s opening weekend of legal sports betting, Ohio online sportsbook transactions outpaced New York as well. GeoComply identified 11.3 million unique transactions in Ohio during launch weekend (Jan. 1-Jan. 2). In the same time frame, New York saw 9.3 million transactions.
Out of state bettors can’t fool GeoComply
We’ve tested it. Keen observers might see the red location pins popping up on the animated map near Ohio’s borders. The red pins represent failed attempts at logging in to Ohio sportsbooks from outside state lines.
GeoComply uses GPS to find precise location using nearby WiFi signals, like your smartphone’s maps app, but it can also detect attempts to spoof your location. A VPN or proxy server won’t get around the geo-fence. In fact, if you’re connected to a VPN at all, you’ll be blocked from betting.
With four of Ohio’s bordering states offering legal online sports betting, most of Ohio’s neighbors won’t be tempted to scooch closer to the border to try to place bets. Kentucky residents, on the other hand, will have to traverse the mighty Ohio to get their apps to work.
The downtown Cincinnati area features several bars that offer kiosk betting as well.
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