The return of baseball and the NBA gave Colorado’s sportsbooks a shot in the arm in July, attracting nearly as much in wagers as the industry’s first two months combined and firmly establishing itself as among the top five US sports betting markets. 

And with new operators coming online and a packed August sports schedule, the Centennial State’s sports betting industry is beginning to realize its potential, according to PlayColorado analysts.

Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for PlayColorado, explained: “It only took a few days of basketball and baseball games in July to show the demand that is out there in Colorado for sports betting.

“In just three months, Colorado has established itself as the fifth-largest sports betting market in the US, and the number of sportsbook operators in the state is growing rapidly. And with a robust August schedule that includes playoff runs by the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche, the short-term outlook for the state is excellent.”

Online and retail sportsbooks combined to generate $59.2m in wagers, up 55.2% from $38.1m in June, while July’s handle resulted in $2.4m in net betting proceeds — up 11.4% from $2.2m in June to produce $241,867 in state taxes. 

Limited to online betting on fringe sports through June, Colorado’s sportsbooks had combined to take in $63.8m in wagers, yielding $3.1m in net proceeds, during the industry’s first two months.

Colorado’s July handle was the fifth largest among legal US jurisdictions, closely trailing fourth placed Indiana, which generated $70.9m in July.

Table tennis generated $15.7m in bets in the first two months, by far the favorite sport among bettors in the state. That changed in July when baseball attracted $9.2m in bets and soccer took in another $7.6m. With just a few days of NBA games, basketball attracted $3.2m in bets. Meanwhile, interest in table tennis waned, yet still yielded $5.1m in wagers.

The addition of hockey in August, and the looming NFL season, only adds to the sudden bounty of sports.

“The success of the sports betting industry in keeping bettors engaged with fringe sports like table tennis cannot be understated, but there isn’t any substitute for football, basketball, baseball, and hockey,” added Gouker. 

“As robust as August looks right now, though, the future remains tenuous. College football will likely not be played this fall in Colorado, though perhaps elsewhere in the US. And the NFL is still working out its plans. So while the news is good, sports betting is still at the mercy of the pandemic.”

Even with the opening of Colorado’s first retail sportsbooks, online sports betting accounted for $58.6m, or 99%, of the state’s July handle. Regardless, it appears sports bettors will have a growing array of choices to place bets. Circa Sports, DraftKings’ retail sportsbook, BetWildwood, Ameristar’s retail sportsbook, and William Hill’s retail sportsbook all opened in July. 

ELITE Sportsbook launched online and in the Red Dolly Casino on August 12, and PointsBet will launch soon with deals already in place with the Nuggets and Avalanche.

“Reasonable operator fees, a relatively large population base, an abundance of sports fans, and a generally operator-friendly regulatory framework have all made the Colorado market attractive in the eyes of major US and European operators,” Gouker said. “And unlike a state like New Jersey that already had a mature gaming industry when sportsbooks first launched, Colorado is a relatively open market. In many ways, it’s ideal for operators of all kinds to enter.”