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CO September betting revenue declines despite record handle


Colorado sportsbooks took in revenue of $4.2m in September, down 44.6% month-on-month, even as betting handle continued to shoot up beyond $200m, as low margins hit operators in the Centennial State.

The drop in revenue was due to a drop in margin to just 2.0% compared to 5.9% in August, as stakes grew 61.4% to $207.7m, exceeding the record set last month. Of this total, $203.9m came from online bets, up 60.9%, while the remaining$3.8m came from retail, up 90.1%.

Of the $4.2m in gross gaming revenue, the vast majority – $3.8m – again came from online, but revenue from this channel was down 48.3%. Retail revenue, on the other hand, increased by 65.8% to $403,000.

Parlay bets brought in revenue the vast majority of revenue, at $3.9m, a 47.3% increase, as players staked $28.2m, up 24.3%.

Thanks to the return of the National Football League (NFL), pro football was the largest source of revenue among individual sports, bringing in $1.8m, up almost 10-fold on bets worth $38.6m, more than 200 times August’s handle. 

The Colorado Department of revenue added that $13.2m was wagered on the first week of the NFL season alone. This far surpassed the amounts staked on any other sport’s first weekend after returning from the suspension caused by the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Collegiate sports, meanwhile, brought in a further $157,000 on handle of $3.8m after negligible bets in August.

Football bets were particularly popular among retail channels, as retail bettors staked $1.3m on the NFL and sportsbooks took in $249,000, while players staked a further $153,000 on college football in person, as casinos took $40,000.

Thanks to the Major League Baseball (MLB) postseason, baseball was the most popular sport for bettors in Colorado, with bets worth $47.1m, more than double the amount wagered in 2019, but sportsbooks made a $3.0m loss on the sport.

While soccer attracted only $4.9m in bets, up 39.1%, it trailed only football in revenue with $456,000, up almost 600%.

Despite all four major professional sports leagues in the US playing during September, the resilience of table tennis betting as lockdown eased continued, as the sport was third in revenue bringing in $377,000, up 7.4%, on stakes worth $5.4m, up 18.7%.

Ice hockey was fourth in revenue, bringing in $357,000, down 76.2%, as handle declined 14.5% to $11.5m, closely followed by basketball, which brought in $299,000, down 86.0%, but did so on handle of $37.8m, down 0.8%.

The growth in handle came in part due to the continued entrance of new licensees into the state. In September, William Hill’s US business – soon to be acquired by Caesars – launched its online and mobile products in Colorado.

Meanwhile, Bet.Works rolled out branded self-service betting terminals at the Red Dolly Casino in Blackhawk with Elite Casino Resorts, while sports betting and media business theScore also launched its sportsbook in the state.

Betfred USA Sports, which has partnered with the Denver Broncos NFL franchise, also launched in the state last month.

At the end of the month, Churchill Downs Incorporated’s BetAmerica brand launched sportsbooks at the Island Resort & Casino in Harris, Michigan and Bronco Billy’s Casino in Cripple Creek, Colorado. It plans to launch an online product later pending license approval.

The influx of new operators looks set to continuer, with German giant Tipico striking a ten-year partnership with Century Casinos to launch sports betting in the state, though it has not launched yet.