- Sports betting launched in Colorado on May 1 as planned despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Given the difficulties the state faced launching mid-pandemic they’ve had stellar results.
- September sports betting handle was up 61% from the previous month.
If every state that has or will legalized sports betting since the overturn of PASPA was smart they’d stop what they’re doing and just copy everything they can from Colorado. They won’t, of course, but the blueprint is right there nestled between Kansas and Utah.
More so than any state that has launched sports betting post PASPA there’s no question that Colorado has done the best job at getting it right. For that matter, you can make a decent case that they’ve done a better job of ‘getting it right’ than the granddaddy of US legacy sports betting markets–that would be Nevada. I’ve been downright giddy with enthusiasm over Colorado’s emerging sports betting ecosystem ever since the beginning. If you’ve read my writing on Colorado here and elsewhere you’re aware that I’ve pegged Colorado as ‘the next big thing’ in US sports betting all along. Even facing the monumental challenge of launching during the COVID-19 pandemic the reality of Colorado sports betting is exceeding my loftiest expectations.
Colorado just released their latest sports betting revenue report and to no surprise September was another blowout month. After monthly betting handle grew 117% in August the Colorado sportsbooks saw another 61% increase in September and eclipsed the $200 million plateau for the first time:
Football’s return yielded big returns for the booming Colorado sports betting market, with total wagers again surpassing that of the prior month. The Colorado Department of Revenue’s Division of Gaming released the monthly figures for September’s sports betting wagering and taxes and is reporting another significant increase of 61% in total handle over the month prior.
The total handle for both retail and online sports betting wagers in Colorado in September totaled $207,655,942. Mobile betting continues to account for a majority of the total betting handle, with 98% of wagers made online and 2% of wagers placed in a retail location.
The report clearly demonstrates the utter stupidity of states that have implemented sports betting without a mobile wagering component. It also gives some context to the reality that Nevada’s mobile betting ecosystem is lagging far behind a number of other states. In August, Nevada sportsbooks took in 30% of their revenue over the retail counter. Nevada is something of a unique market at the retail level so we’ll delve deeper into this topic in a future article.
October should be another huge month in Colorado with a full month of NFL football on the betting boards. The NFL season began on September 10 this year with no preseason component. College football didn’t really get going at full speed until mid-September. With wall to wall football in October the Colorado handle should be well over $200 million once again. Here’s the breakdown of which sports brought in the most money:
The top sport wagered on in September was baseball with $47.1 million in wagers placed in with both retail and online operators, followed by professional American football in the second spot with $38.6 million, and in third was basketball with $37.7million in total wagers. The return to play for football outpaced initial bets placed on the other major sports leagues, with $13.2 million wagers placed on the first weekend of professional football play. Comparatively, the wagers placed for the first four days of play resulted in $4.2 million total bets on basketball, and $3.4 million was wagered on baseball.
Another interesting tidbit from the betting breakdown by sport: table tennis has so far maintaining the surprising popularity it attracted during the nadir of the pandemic when there wasn’t much else on the board. The top four sport in Colorado were some variation of the ‘Big 4’–baseball, NFL football, basketball and hockey. The fifth most bet sport? Table tennis which attracted more wagering action than tennis, NCAA football, soccer, golf and MMA.