Colorado’s sports betting sector has become one of the biggest in the US after scoring its biggest month yet in September. A sports schedule that featured the first games of the NFL season, MLB, and the NBA and NHL playoffs generated a record $207.7m in bets for the month.
With a bevy of new operators making their debut, Colorado joins a group of five states that have generated more than $200m in a single month, according to analysts from PlayColorado.
September’s handle surged 61% from $128.6m in August with wagers leading to $4.2m in gross gaming revenue, down 45% from $7.5m in August. The increase saw Colorado edge Indiana to temporarily take over fourth spot among US legal sports betting markets.
“Colorado is nowhere near maturity as a market, and yet its gains continue to put it among the top markets in the US,” said Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for PlayColorado.com. “Interest in the Denver Broncos was bound to help spur interest in the NFL’s first few weeks. But September still managed to outpace what we could have reasonably expected just two months ago.”
September’s gains netted a loss of $3.4m in betting proceeds, down from $1.9m in August, a product of bad luck and heavy promotions for the state’s sportsbooks. Despite the loss, $69,772 was injected into state coffers.
The return of the Denver Broncos and NFL was a key reason why betting was so brisk. With three full weekends of NFL action, football generated $38.6m in wagers. Baseball, though, showed surprising strength by generating $47.1m. Heavy interest in the Denver Nuggets, who weren’t eliminated from the NBA playoffs until September 26, led to $36.9m being bet on basketball. Hockey chipped in $11.3m.
Jessica Welman, analyst for PlayColorado.com, said: “The NFL is king in every major US sports betting market, so it is no surprise that Colorado bettors showed significant interest, but baseball is proving formidable. Colorado is quickly developing into a well-rounded market with significant betting interest in a wide array of sports, including table tennis, which remains shockingly popular.”
Online sportsbooks have proven to be by far the overwhelming preference for Colorado’s bettors. $203.9million, or 98.2%, of all September’s wagers were made online. That is essentially even with 98.5% in August. No other major legal sports betting market has seen such a high percentage of its monthly handle generated online.
Operators have clearly noticed. In September alone, Colorado welcomed the launch of four new online sportsbooks, including theScore, William Hill, Betfred, and Sportsbetting.com.
“The Colorado market will continue to sort itself out for the foreseeable future, and its growth prospects remain enormous as more and more operators enter,” Welman added. “Illinois’ population will make it nearly impossible for Colorado to keep pace, but catching Indiana so quickly is impressive. In fact, Colorado’s race with Indiana remains among the most intriguing storylines of US sports betting.”