Colorado Bettors Clear $2.3 Billion In Sports Wagers In First 12 Months


Bettors in Colorado wagered more than $2.3 billion over the first 12 months of legal sports betting, the Colorado Department of Revenue announced Monday. The unaudited figure includes April 2021, though the audited revenue report for that month is not yet available. In March, Colorado became the sixth U.S. state to clear $2 billion in handle since the Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act on May 14, 2018.

According to the release, bettors laid down $2,325,477,052 in wagers, resulting in gross gaming revenue of  $148.1 million and taxable revenue of $65.9 million.

The other states in the “$2 Billion Club” are Indiana, Iowa, Nevada, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania — all of which have had live sports betting since at least 2019. Colorado launched its first operators on May 1, 2020, at the height of COVID-19 shutdowns and restrictions.

“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,” said Dan Hartman, Division of Gaming Director. “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 United States, and we will continue to be known for our regulatory leadership.”

Coloradans like to wager

In fact, stakeholders often point to Colorado when asked what a favorable market looks like. The Department of Revenue has an extensive bet menu, Director Dan Hartman is known more for being a partner in gaming than an operator’s adversary, and Coloradans clearly have the itch to wager, operators say.

Though Colorado’s population is around 5.9 million, average wager per capita, by CoBets‘ calculations, hit $45.90 in February — the third highest in the U.S. For March, the figure increased to $51.83.

Last spring, four operators — BetMGM, BetRivers, DraftKings, and FanDuel — went live on May 1, the first day sportsbooks were allowed to accept legal sports wagers statewide. Since then, 17 other digital platforms have gone live. There are also 17 brick-and-mortar casinos in the state with live sportsbooks, and all 33 are licensed for sports wagering.

Colorado remains one of only a handful of states west of the Mississippi River with live, legal digital sports betting. Illinois and Nevada are the only other high-population states in that portion of the country with statewide mobile and retail sports betting, though lawmakers in Arizona have approved legal sports betting and regulators are currently developing rules.

“Launching the program in the midst of uncertainty, the Division of Gaming credits the success of the first year to the pragmatic and thoughtful enabling legislation, the partnerships established with industry stakeholders, the open competitive market created through the rules and regulations, and the commitment of the division’s staff and partners to get it right for Colorado,” Colorado Department of Revenue Executive Director Mark Ferrandino said.

Jill has covered everything from steeplechase to the NFL and then some during a more than 30-year career in sports journalism. The highlight of her career was covering Oakland Raiders during the Charles Woodson/Jon Gruden era, including the infamous “Snow Bowl” and the Raiders’ 2003 trip to Super Bowl XXXVII. Her specialty these days is covering sports betting legislation across the country.

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