Bettors poured a record $408m into Colorado’s online and retail sportsbooks in September, as a hot start by the Denver Broncos and a full month of college football fueled a massive spike in action. September’s results marked the 10th time in 17 months of sports betting that the state’s sportsbooks have posted a record high handle, proof that the state’s market has yet to reach its ceiling.
“It is no surprise that a new monthly record would come given the Broncos start, overall enthusiasm for the NFL’s return, influx of new online apps, and the number of games played by Colorado, Colorado State and Air Force,” said Ian St. Clair, analyst for PlayColorado.com. “Maybe more remarkably, though, is just how short-lived this record will likely be. This will be a very lucrative fall for the state’s sportsbooks.”
Online and retail sportsbooks in Colorado combined to take in $408.3m in wagers in August, which included $402.8m in online wagering, according to data released Friday by the Colorado Division of Gaming. September’s volume was up 96.6 per cent from $207.7m in September 2020 and up 92.7 per cent from $211.9m in August. The previous high came in January when sportsbooks took in $326.9m in wagers.
Gross gaming revenue was nearly a new high, too, with $22.7m in September. That is up 443.9 per cent from $4.2m in September 2020, and was just shy of the previous high of $23.1m set in January. $19.8m in promotional bets, or “free bets,” whittled net sports betting proceeds to $1.8m, which yielded $483,048 in state taxes.
Pro football drew a whopping $125.8m in wagers, a wave of action compared with the $13.6m that were bet on the sport in August. College football took 46.9m. College and pro football took in more than baseball ($68.7m), pro basketball ($16.3m), tennis ($16.3m), soccer ($13m), and table tennis ($11.1m) combined.
A 3-0 start by the Broncos helped energize the state’s bettors in September. But with five weekends of football in October, and the opening of the NBA and NHL seasons, there will be an incredible amount of betting inventory.
“The outlook only gets rosier in the coming months with a busy schedule that includes the return of the Nuggets and Avalanche,” said Eric Ramsey, analyst for the PlayUSA.com network, which includes PlayColorado.com. “If the Broncos can remain relevant the industry will likely make another huge jump forward.”
An influx of new operators continues to push the market, too. Not only are brands such as Barstool and Sports Illustrated Sportsbook investing in growing their customer base. They are also increasing competition for more established operators like DraftKings and FanDuel.
Such investments will continue to grow the overall market.
“Another record month is a reminder that Colorado’s market is still relatively young and growing,” said St. Clair. “In fact, it still could be a couple years before we reach a true level of maturity. That means we can expect the wild ride to continue for the foreseeable future.”