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Colorado sports wagers reach $2.34bn in first year of regulation


Consumers in Colorado wagered a total of $2.34bn on sports during the first year of legal wagering in the state, while gross gaming revenue in the 12-month period amounted to $148.1m.

Colorado launched its legal sports betting market on May 1, 2020, with players in the state able to wager both online and in-person at retail sportsbooks.

The market endured a tough start with players limited to online betting online in the first few months of regulation due to novel coronavirus (covid-19) restrictions. A lack of sports events as a result of Covid-enforced cancellations and postponements also stunted early progress.

However, as major sports returned in August, the market saw consistent month-on-month growth through to January 2021, which was incidentally the month in which wagering was at its highest as players spent $326.9m on sports betting.

Wagering dipped in February to $266.5m, but recovered in March to $301.0m, while early figures published by the Colorado Division of Gaming show a handle of $245.3m for April.

In terms of revenue, January was also a record month with operators generating a total of $23.1m in gross gaming revenue from sports betting. Initial figures for April place revenue at $18.3m for the month.

Looking at what sports consumers were betting on, basketball was the most popular among players, drawing $435.2m in bets during the 12-month period, or 20.9% of all wagers in year one.

Football was second with $383.5m in bets, or 18.4% of total wagers, then college basketball on $193.9m in bets, representing 9.3% of all wagers. Parlay and combination betting was also a popular choice for players, with $339.4m wagered during the first year.

Figures published by the Division of Gaming also showed that the state was able to collect a total of $65.9m in tax from legal sports betting in the opening 12 months of regulation. By the end of April, some 20 operators were active online, while 16 retail sportsbooks were open.

“The first year of sports betting exceeded our expectations, especially after we launched amid a worldwide pandemic that shuttered the casinos, the industry, and Colorado,” Division of Gaming director Dan Hartman said.

“Looking back on a year ago, I don’t believe any of us expected to be where we are with our numbers and our operations. Colorado is setting the benchmark for what a healthy, regulated legalized sports betting market can look like in the US, and we will continue to be known for our regulatory leadership.”