Good News with a Caveat as Colorado Announces Record September Sports Betting Figures

Colorado Record September Sports Betting

  • Colorado announces record Sept. handle but small to negative profit results for the month
  • Bottom line numbers presumed to be influenced by large sign-up bonuses by operators
  • State planning to have among US largest base of operators both onsite and online 

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Some quite positive news for Colorado’s new sports wagering fortunes in September although with some moderate negative news. The state’s handle dramatically increased the past month however the state’s share of this total action was depleted due to the current operator’s generous online bonus offers.

Numbers released last week by the Colorado Department of Revenue Division of Gaming reflected a total of $207.6 million in September. That is a 61% jump from an August total of $128,646,209. and a record for the new market in Colorado. Like all states sharing similar record-breaking fortune, the new mark was aided by all four major US sports leagues playing simultaneously during the same month. And joining them the opportunity to bet US Open Tennis, US Open Golf plus the Kentucky Derby.

The downside was wagering “revenue” was under $4.2M, with the Colorado state share less than $70K.  The $3.76M in gross online wagering revenue reflected a -$3.79M in net sports betting proceeds. In total, taxable revenue was a modest $394K accounted for by the state’s retail sportsbooks.

It is assumed that the negative bottom-line results are reflected of the operator’s loss-leading opportunities to offer new bonus offers to bettors who are activating their accounts for the first time concurrently with the National Football League and NCAA college football season getting underway.

Breaking Down the Sports

Dividing up the wagering action, the outlook on individual sports was a bit different from other states. Somewhat surprising, baseball led the way attracting 47.1 million in wagering. Closely followed by football combined at $38.6 million, NBA basketball at $37.7 million, and NHL Stanley Cup Playoff hockey at $11.4 million. Table tennis still accounted for $5.3 million-plus the “all other” category for just under $20.7 million. In types of betting, parlays accounted for $28.1 million in play due to the September introduction of NFL and NCAA college football wagering.

It was also assumed that both the popular University of Colorado and Colorado State not yet beginning their football season until October/November influenced potential results.

Large Base of Colorado Operators

Many new sportsbook operators were just getting started as September launched in Colorado.  In total there are nine current books including majors FanDuel, DraftKings Sportsbook, BetMGM, and William Hill with others in the planning stages.

Beginning on September 2 The Score began operations in the state after receiving their license in August from the Colorado Division of Gaming. Following that on the 11th, Betfred USA got started within Colorado while also previously announcing a partnership deal with the Denver Broncos. Planning expansion, William Hill began upon NFL kickoff day during September in two retail locations at casinos in Black Hawk.

Heading into Colorado soon will be Germany’s largest sports betting provider, Tipico. They also announced a deal with Century Casinos, who operate casinos in Cripple Creek and Central City.

Counting on Sports Wagering

Voters approved Proposition DD last November guided under the direction and hope that sports wagering funds would help generate revenue for the state’s water budget. The reality being 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 forecasted shortfalls of $100 million. Sports betting was expected to partially fill some of that, potentially generating up to $20 million a year in added revenue, based on the most optimistic assumptions.

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Larry Gibbs

Expert on Sports Betting Industry

Larry Gibbs is both a seasoned journalist and a respected online gaming industry consultant. His wry commentary & sharp analysis have appeared in numerous top gaming and sports wagering publications. He has also served as Vice President of US Gaming Services, a marketing research organization with 15 years of experience in US online wagering. He has spoken at noted gaming industry conferences including G2E, GiGSE, and NCLGS.

Email: larry.gibbs@wsn.com