Seasonal pressures slow Colorado sportsbooks to modest April decline

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Colorado sportsbooks, in line with other regulated states, saw sports betting volume drop in April, a fall that was driven by seasonal pressures that are likely to slow wagering action until football season, according to PlayColorado

But as sports betting in the state turned one, a modest decline should not spoil the outlook for a state that is clearly poised for more growth in year two, it said.

Colorado’s online and retail sportsbooks took in $244.5m in April, down 18.8% from $300.1m in bets in March. The state’s official tally is slightly less than the unaudited data that was reported earlier this month.  

Bettors placed $8.1m bets per day in April, down from $9.7m per day in March. Those bets led to $17.6m in gross gaming revenue, down 13.8% from $20.4m in March. Promotional credits worth $6.4m whittled net sports betting proceeds to $10.5m, yielding $1.1m in tax revenue.

“In US sports betting, there isn’t any real substitute for the popularity of the NFL or the NCAA Tournament,” said Ian St Clair, analyst for “But even with a monthly decline in wagering, Colorado continues to fare well compared with similarly sized states. 

“The circumstances now are radically different from last year’s pandemic-plagued launch, and there is reason to believe that the state will be back to full speed once football returns.”

From the industry’s launch on May 1, 2020, through April 30, 2021, Colorado sportsbooks generated $2.3bn in wagers, $147.4m in gross gaming revenue, $61.5m in net betting proceeds and $6.6m in state taxes

“The outlying metric continues to be the state’s take, which may yet need to be adjusted to ensure that the industry is working for every stakeholder,” said Jessica Welman, analyst for PlayColorado. “Still, considering the circumstances of its launch, the first year of sports betting in Colorado was a success.”

A drop in wagering was to be expected with the lighter sports schedule. Every state with legal sports betting has reported a month-on-month decline in April wagering. Of the largest sports betting markets in the US that have already reported April data, Indiana (-25.4%), Iowa (-26.7%), and Michigan (-30.5%) all experienced a more dramatic month-over-month decline than Colorado. 

New Jersey (-13%), Tennessee (-13.6%), and Pennsylvania (-14.4%), however, fared modestly better. 

The NBA remained the top draw in April, which mirrors activity in most markets. Betting reached $84.3m, down from $106.9m in March. Baseball betting in the season’s first month was second with $48.3m, a total likely dampened by the struggles of the Colorado Rockies. The Colorado Avalanche propelled hockey betting to third place, with $10.6m, while table tennis ($9m) continued to show atypical popularity.

“Colorado’s unique mix of betting interests does help flatten some of the seasonal swings that some other major markets experience,” St Clair added. “If the Nuggets and Avalanche can make deep playoff runs and the Olympics pique interest, Colorado stands a good chance of avoiding the worst of the typical summer swoon.”