Colorado September Sports Betting Handle Jumps 61 Percent, But Taxable Revenue Turns Negative

Posted on: October 23, 2020, 01:51h. 

Last updated on: October 23, 2020, 02:39h.

Buoyed by the return of football, Colorado’s sports betting handle surged 61 percent month-over-month in September, ascending to a record $207.65 million. But data released by the Department of Revenue indicates net sports betting product (NSBP), or taxable revenue, was -$3.39 million.

Colorado Sports Betting
Helped by the return of the Denver Broncos, Colorado’s September sports betting increased 61 percent. (Image: Mile High Report)

At Centennial State retail sportsbooks, September NBSP was in the green at just over $394,000. But online fell to -$3.78 million, perhaps the result of a heavily promotional environment. Mobile betting, however, continued to be the preferred avenue for Colorado gamblers.

Mobile betting continues to account for a majority of the total betting handle, with 98 percent of wagers made online and two percent of wagers placed at a retail location,” said the Department of Revenue.

Sports betting was approved by Colorado voters in November 2019 and didn’t launch there until May. But even with the hurdles created by the coronavirus pandemic, the market is among the fastest-growing in the country and a sought-after destination for operators. A robust online market is helping the cause. Fifteen gaming firms offer mobile sports wagering in the state, compared to 11 running brick-and-mortar sportsbooks.

Baseball Blowout, Football Helps

Even with the return of college football and the NFL, baseball was the most wagered-on sports in Colorado last month. It generated a handle of $47.10 million, but operators took a bath on that sport, paying out $50.15 million to bettors.

Colorado’s NFL handle in September was $38.61 million. Of which, $36.86 million was returned to gamblers, according to state data. Perhaps aided by a run to the Western Conference finals by the NBA’s Denver Nuggets, the Centennial State’s basketball handle in the ninth month of the year was $37.77 million. Hockey was the only other sport to notch a handle north of $10 million.

It could be the result of the University of Colorado and Colorado State University not yet commencing their seasons, but three sports — table tennis, tennis, and soccer — posted larger handles in the state last month than the $3.84 million generated by NCAA football.

The top 10 most wagered-on sports in the state last were month are rounded out by golf, MMA, parlays, and “other,” which isn’t clarified by state regulators.

Tax Talk

When Colorado voters considered Proposition DD last November, it was under the auspices of using sports wagering to generate revenue for the state’s water budget.

The state is one of the fastest-growing in the West, leading to increasing water demands. But the budget addressing that issue is expected to face annual shortfalls of $100 million.

Sports betting was expected to partially plug some of those gaps, potentially generating up to $20 million a year in added revenue, based on the most optimistic assumptions.

However, the state’s sports wagering tax haul in September was less than $70,000, and that was with an unusually full athletics calendar. That signals it will be some time before sports betting taxes make material contributions to the water budget.