Colorado Sports Bettors Win Big On Super Bowl

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Colorado sports betting operators took in more than $30 million in sports wagers on Super Bowl LV, in line with estimates from state officials for the largest single-day betting event in professional sports.

Sportsbooks in Colorado accepted $31.2 million in total wagers, the Colorado Division of Gaming told CoBets on Wednesday, including $16.9 million on game day. Legal sportsbooks in the Centennial State accepted wagers on the Super Bowl for the first time in state history.

But the main takeaway from Super Bowl Sunday is not on the handle, but on the considerable payday hauled in by bettors. Colorado sportsbooks paid out $32.44 million in winnings on a handle of $31.2 million, resulting in a win of negative $1.24 million. The heartache experienced by Colorado books could be reflective of the antipathy shown by Denver Broncos’ fans for their chief AFC West rivals, the Kansas City Chiefs.

“It’s interesting that there was a loss across the state,” Betfred USA Sports COO Bryan Bennett told CoBets. “Maybe because Bronco fans can’t bring themselves to bet on the Chiefs? I’m sure that has something to do with it.”

In a major upset, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Chiefs 31-9 as Tom Brady won his seventh career Super Bowl title. Betfred saw an overall profit, Bennett said, while adding that the book would have only recorded a more favorable outcome under one scenario: a Chiefs’ victory by one or two points. While Kansas City was a consensus 3-point favorite across the nation, the line reached as high as 3.5 leading up to the game.

Another Colorado sportsbook, BetMonarch took multiple five-figure bets on the Chiefs to outscore the Bucs in the second half, Monarch Casino Chief Operating Officer David Farahi told CoBets. It did not materialize as Tampa held Kansas City to just three points after halftime.

Mattress Mack’s massive payday

Colorado sportsbooks would have turned a profit had prominent sports bettor Jim “Mattress Mack,” McIngvale placed his massive $3.46 million bet on the Bucs outside of the state. McIngvale, a furniture entrepreneur and horse-racing owner, flew into Colorado Springs on Feb. 3 to make one of the largest wagers in Super Bowl history.

When McIngvale arrived, he placed the wager on Bucs +3.5 (-127) on his DraftKings‘ mobile app from the Colorado Springs’ airport. McIngvale, the founder of Houston-based furniture chain Gallery Furniture, collected $2.72 million on the bet. Discounting Mattress Mack’s winnings, Colorado books won about $1.48 million on the Super Bowl, translating to a win percentage of approximately 4.66%.

“Tampa is loaded with talent on both sides of the ball and led by the greatest football player of all time in Tom Brady, so I’m betting big on the Bucs, who have overcome tough matchups throughout this postseason,” McIngvale said prior to the Super Bowl.

DraftKings also took a $200,000 wager on the Chiefs -3 (-116).

Comparisons with other states

As of Wednesday afternoon, nine jurisdictions released betting data on Super Bowl LV — an event dominated largely by online sports wagering due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In terms of handle, Colorado ranks fifth, just behind Pennsylvania and Illinois, which reported total wagers of $53.6 million and $45.6 million, respectively.

“Those numbers were close to what we expected given that this was our first major championship event with sports betting,” Colorado Division of Gaming spokesperson Suzi Karrer told CoBets.

In 2020, during the first year of legal sports betting in Colorado, bettors wagered $1.13 billion on online platforms across the state. Colorado bettors closed the year on a strong note, wagering more than $515 million in the last two months alone. Consequently, the Centennial State closed the year as one of only five states to eclipse the $1 billion handle threshold dating back to the Supreme Court’s historic PASPA ruling in 2018.

For the Super Bowl, the Colorado handle far exceeded that of Iowa ($16.3 million), New Hampshire ($8.8 million), Mississippi ($8.1 million), and Oregon ($3.47 million). In terms of revenue, however, Colorado is the only state besides New Hampshire to report a negative win percentage. Mississippi reported handle figures, but did not release data on sportsbook revenues.

Super Bowl LV handle by state

  • Nevada — $136.1 million
  • New Jersey — $117.4 million
  • Pennsylvania — $53.6 million
  • Illinois — $45.6 million
  • Colorado — $31.2 million
  • Iowa — $16.3 million
  • New Hampshire — $8.8 million
  • Mississippi — $8.1 million
  • Oregon — $3.47 million

A late shift on the Bucs

It is difficult to come up with a narrative on Super Bowl wagering trends in Colorado based solely on the data collected by the Gaming division. Although CoBets received betting splits from more than a dozen operators last week, approximately 55% of the state’s overall handle came from wagers placed on Super Bowl Sunday.

Anecdotally, bettors at numerous sportsbooks backed the Chiefs with the spread during the week. At BetRivers, approximately 88% of the handle for spread bets featured wagers on the Chiefs, similar to trends at DraftKings where bettors took the Chiefs (-3.5) on tickets that comprised 83% of the handle. With the moneyline, though, bettors took the Bucs (+140) on 72% of BetMGM tickets prior to Sunday.  Bettors also backed Tampa at a high rate on moneyline wagers at PointsBet, where 60% of the mid-week handle was on the Bucs.

The division did not receive any data on prop wagers or parlay/teasers, according to Karrer. Colorado sportsbooks were not required to provide the division with a breakdown on wager types, she added.

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Matt is a veteran writer with a specific focus on the emerging sports gambling market. During Matt's two decade career in journalism, he has written for the New York Times, Forbes, The Guardian, Reuters and CBSSports.com among others. In his spare time, Matt is an avid reader, a weekend tennis player and a frequent embarrassment to the sport of running.

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