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US – Colorado Sportsbooks set fresh handle and revenue records

By - 6 December 2021

Colorado fell just short of becoming the fifth US state to generate $500m in legal sports wagers in a single month in October with yet another surge in betting. The $491m in wagers marked the second consecutive monthly handle record and produced a record high in revenue, giving Colorado its most lucrative month since launching in 2000, according to PlayColorado, which tracks the state’s regulated sports betting market.

“Five full weekends of the NFL and college football will always be good for sportsbooks, but for that to coincide with baseball’s postseason and the opening of the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche seasons made October a sort of perfect storm,” said Ian St. Clair, lead analyst for PlayColorado.com. “Importantly, the base of sports bettors in Colorado continues to expand, and those bettors are wagering more than this time last year as they become more comfortable with in-game betting at online sportsbooks. Altogether it points to a bright future for the industry.”

Online and retail sportsbooks in Colorado accepted $491.5m in wagers in October, up 20.4 per cent from the record $408.3m in September, according to data released Tuesday by the Colorado Division of Gaming. October’s handle included $483.3m in wagers through online operators, as overall volume jumped 133.2 per cent from $210.7m in October 2020.

Gross gaming revenue was up 11.6 per cent to a record $28.6m from $22.7m in September and up 64.4 per cent from $17.4m in October 2020. The previous revenue record was $23.1m, which was set in January. 

“With such a packed sports schedule, sportsbooks clearly saw an opportunity to reach new customers in October,” said Eric Ramsey, analyst for the PlayUSA.com network, which includes PlayColorado.com. “Online operators have been aggressive in Colorado from the beginning, in part because the state has incentivized heavy promotional spending. That has limited tax revenue, but ideally more in tax receipts will come as the market grows.”

With five full weekends of college football and the NFL, pro football was easily the biggest draw in October with $171.2m in wagers. That topped the $125.8m bet in September. Basketball drew significant action, too, with $63.3m in wagers. College football attracted $51.2m in bets, up from $46.9min October. The biggest draws were followed by baseball ($37.4m), soccer ($15.9m), tennis ($14.1m), hockey ($13.2m), and table tennis ($10.3m).

The surge in betting came even as the Denver Broncos went 1-4 in their five October games and Colorado and Colorado State struggled. The Nuggets and, to a lesser extent the Avalanche, helped bridge the local enthusiasm gap, though.

“Five weeks of football are more than enough to overcome dampened enthusiasm from a disappointing Broncos stretch,” said St. Clair. “With the Broncos bouncing back, and college basketball cranking up, wagering should remain high in the coming months, too.”

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