Despite a lack of major sporting activity on which to wager, Colorado’s first month of sports betting topped the debut month of most of the largest markets in the country. 

But according to PlayColorado analysts, the state’s first official data release on Monday confirming that sportsbooks generated $946,741 in operator revenue on $25.6m in bets in May is merely a glimpse into the bright future for Colorado’s sports betting market.

Only Indiana, which attracted $35.2m in bets when retail sportsbooks launched in September 2019, produced a larger handle in its first month of legal sports betting than Colorado. 

Moreover, the Centennial State compared well with other, more established betting markets during the same month. In fact, Indiana, the country’s fourth-largest sports betting market, accepted $37.3m in wagers in May, while Oregon recorded far less than Colorado with $7.3m.

Lead analyst Dustin Gouker said: “Considering the circumstances of its first month, Colorado debuted about as well as any market could. Ultimately the revenue that was driven while sports were mostly dormant is less important than sportsbooks launching and engaging sports bettors so they’re ready when major sports resume. By that metric, Colorado’s launch was a success.”

Anecdotally, it is likely the two largest brands in US legal sports betting — DraftKings DraftKings Sportsbook/Golden Gulch Casino and FanDuel Sportsbook/Golden Gates Casino — led the Colorado market in its first month. But the state did not release data on individual operators.

More brands are coming, too. SBK Sportsbook/Bronco Billy’s Casino and Sky Ute Sportsbook/Sky Ute Casino and Resort have already launched this month. And possibly dozens of online and mobile sportsbooks are expected to open in Colorado.

“One of the primary reasons why Colorado fared well in its first month is that the top brands were ready to go from the beginning,” Gouker said. “Having FanDuel and DraftKings, in addition to BetMGM and BetRivers, accepting bets on the first day of operation is unprecedented. It shows just how much confidence operators have in the future of the Colorado market.”

With Colorado’s 10% tax rate, the revenue generated in May injected $96,538 into state coffers. But PlayColorado projects that the state’s handle could eventually reach $6bn a year or more, so tax revenues will undoubtedly grow.

Before that happens, the sports world needs to reopen. $7.9m of Colorado’s bets were placed on sports categorized as “other” than football, basketball, baseball, or myriad other sports. 

Remarkably, said PlayColorado, table tennis generated $6.6m in bets while bettors were limited in May mainly to golf’s The Match: Champions for Charity, four nights of UFC fights, NASCAR, Bundesliga soccer, and Korean baseball.

“The real test won’t likely come until August, when presumably baseball, the NBA, and the NHL are in play, and the NFL season gets closer,” Gouker said. “But sportsbooks are laying the groundwork for a quick start. And that will be important once sports do resume.”