Colorado sportsbooks bounce back in May thanks to Avalanche and Nuggets runs

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Colorado’s sportsbooks saw a return to growth in May as interest in the playoff runs of the Colorado Avalanche and Denver Nuggets pushed the state’s betting volume to nearly $250m. 

The month’s results show how valuable the success of local teams can be to bookmakers, especially in what is the offseason of sports betting, according to PlayColorado, which tracks the state’s regulated sports betting market. 

Sportsbooks accepted $249m in May wagers online and in retail sportsbooks, equal to $8m bets per day in May. Those wagers were up 1.9% from $244.5m in bets in April and up nearly 10-fold from $25.6m in wagers in May 2020, the first month of sports betting in the state. 

May’s wagers produced $15.2m in gross gaming revenue, down 13.7% from $17.6m in April but up from $2.6m in May 2020. After promotional credits, sportsbooks reported $5.9m in net sports betting proceeds, which yielded $635,641 in tax revenue.

“The US jurisdictions that have fared best over the last two months have tended to be those like Colorado where a local team thrived or a locally held event drew heavy interest,” said Jessica Welman, analyst for the Network, which includes 

“The biggest takeaway is that Colorado’s bettors remain engaged, and that will prove important once football season kicks off and robust growth returns,” she added.

The nation’s largest legal sports betting markets have been a mixed bag over the last two months, the beginning of a relatively slow period in sports betting that will last until football season. 

Of the Top 10 US markets that have reported May data, Colorado’s month-on-month increase in wagering was smaller than New Jersey (up 8.9%) and Indiana (up 7.6%), but larger than Iowa (down 2.9%), Michigan (down 6.0%), and Pennsylvania (down 6.7%). Colorado’s handle did drop 18.8% in April, but all of the nation’s 10 largest markets saw at least a 13% decline in betting from March to April.

“Colorado’s sportsbooks are in a good position relative to most other legal states,” said Ian St Clair, analyst for “The seasonal slowdown will continue to be a factor until the NFL and college football returns. For now, though, the state’s sportsbooks are doing what they can to keep interest up by taking advantage of the opportunities, such as playoff appearances by the Nuggets and the Avs, as they come.”

With the Nuggets beginning their playoff journey in May, the NBA spurred $86.9m in basketball wagering, up from $84.3m in April. Baseball was the second-most popular sport with $49.1m, up from $48.3m in April despite the struggles of the Colorado Rockies. 

The Avalanche pushed hockey betting to $15.5m from $10.6m in April. Table tennis ($10.3m), soccer ($9.9m), and tennis ($8.2m) also drove significant interest from bettors.

“With both the Avalanche and Nuggets eliminated and the Colorado Rockies struggling, Colorado won’t be as lucky as it has been for the remainder of the summer months,” St Clair said. “But baseball’s All-Star Game should generate some interest, as well as an influx of out-of-state bettors. And the state’s sportsbooks will be creative in maximizing interest in events such as The Olympics.”