Colorado Sports Betting Continues Hot Streak, August Handle More Than Doubles

Posted on: September 23, 2020, 05:02h. 

Last updated on: July 26, 2022, 10:16h.

August was just the fourth month in which sports wagering was live and legal in Colorado. But the Centennial State is showing it’s a force to be reckoned with in the West, as its total handle for the eighth month of the year surged 117 percent from July.

Denver Nuggets
The success of Nikola Jokic (white jersey) and the Denver Nuggets in the playoffs could be one reason Colorado sports betting surged in August. (Image: New York Times)

In dollar terms, the total handle was $128.64 million, resulting in tax receipts of more than $189,000, according to the Colorado Department of Revenue.

The top three sports by total wagers were basketball, with $38 million in wagers place in both retail and online operators, followed by baseball with $22.78 million, and ice hockey with $13.59 million,” said the Department of Revenue in a statement.

Those data points indicate the state benefited from gamblers being able to wager on Major League Baseball’s Colorado Rockies and playoff runs by the NBA’s Denver Nuggets and the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche. In the first two rounds of the Western Conference playoffs, the Nuggets twice played the maximum seven games, perhaps giving rise to the state’s August handle.

Online Matters

Over the course of the still-young evolution of sports wagering in the US, it’s becoming clear that online betting is where growth will be sourced. States that allow it to see sports betting flourish. Those that forbid it, such as New York, languish.

That thesis is confirmed in Colorado. Of the Centennial State’s $128.64 million August handle, $126.66 million came from online bets, while just $1.97 million of those wagers were placed at retail sportsbooks, according to Department of Revenue data. The state has a robust internet betting market, with roughly a dozen operators, including Circa Sports, DraftKings, FanDuel, theScore Bet, and PointsBet, just to name a few.

To put Colorado’s ascent in the realm of online sports wagering into context, the state has approximately 81 percent of the population of Indiana, one of the fastest-growing sports betting markets in the country. The Centennial State’s fourth month online handle is a figure it took the Hoosier State 10 months to reach.

Online and mobile betting are essential to Colorado’s ability to generate tax revenue from sports wagering. That’s because the major population center of Denver is located almost an hour’s drive from casinos in Central City, and more than two hours from those in Cripple Creek.

Hot Start Can Continue

There are no guarantees, but with evident tailwinds, it’s reasonable to expect Colorado’s sports betting handle will increase again this month.

For starters, NFL season is here, and while the Denver Broncos don’t look impressive, that’s still the most popular professional team in the state, and football is the most-bet sport in the country.

Second, the Nuggets are hanging around in the NBA playoffs, giving the Los Angeles Lakers all they can handle in the Western Conference Finals. Those two factors could combine for another Centennial State record sports betting tally this month.