Colorado Posts ‘Encouraging’ $25.6 Million Handle in First Month of Legal Sports Betting

Posted on: July 13, 2020, 03:59h. 

Last updated on: July 14, 2020, 09:56h.

May 2020 was Colorado’s first month in the legal sports wagering arena. All things considered, the state’s $25.62 million handle is solid.

Colorado First Month Sports Bet Results
With the NBA soon returning, Colorado sports betting figures could exceed May’s decent tally of $25.6 million. (Image: Denver Post)

When betting experts and historians look back on 2020, May will not go down as the optimal time for any state to have joined the “live and legal” party, because of the coronavirus prompting a limited slate of offerings for gamblers to wager on.

The COVID-19 pandemic, the closures of Colorado casinos, and cessation of professional sporting events were challenges the Division of Gaming could not anticipate when initially planning for the launch of legalized sports betting in Colorado,” said Dan Hartman, director of the Division of Gaming, in a statement.

Colorado voters narrowly approved Proposition DD last November, permitting legitimate sports betting in the Centennial State. Prior to the onset of COVID-19, it was estimated that the state would rake in $9.6 million in revenue from sports betting this year. But in early May, experts pinned that number at closer to $1.5 million. The activity generated $96,537.55 for state coffers in May, according to data from the Colorado Limited Gaming Commission (CLGC).

Adapting to the Times

Because of the dearth of sports to bet on in the fifth month of the year, table tennis was the most wagered-on sport in the Centennial State, generating a handle of $6.58 million, or 25.7 percent of the overall total. Colorado is one of several states that recently asked sportsbook operators to take that sport off their boards.

Mixed martial arts (MMA), international baseball, soccer, and golf were the next most-bet sports in the state in May, after ping-pong. Colorado bettors also plunked down more than $252,000 on pro football futures.

One bright spot for the state and operators is that bettors there got acquainted with online wagering in the fifth month of the year. In fact, all legitimate sports wagers placed in Colorado in May were done so via computer or mobile device, because casinos there didn’t reopen until mid-June.

CLGC currently licenses 25 internet and 19 retail sportsbooks.

Some Good News And Bad News

Hartman said the $25.6 million wagered in May is “an encouraging predictor of the potential for the Colorado sports betting landscape.”

Policymakers are probably hoping he’s right because Prop DD was pitched to voters as a way of plugging an annual shortfall of $100 million in the state’s water budget. Extrapolated out over a year, the sports betting taxes Colorado collected in May would be mere droplets for the water expense, not the gusher politicians and voters are hoping for.

On the bright side, June’s tally should be higher simply because bettors had access to a fuller slate of golf and NASCAR competitions. This month should be even stronger, as the NBA returns, and Major League Baseball (MLB) kicks off its abbreviated season.

The NHL restarts on Aug. 1. Colorado is home to franchises in all three of those leagues.