Colorado Clears $4 Billion In All-Time Handle With Record October


Colorado became the sixth state to surpass $4 billion in sports betting handle in the post-PASPA era Tuesday, furthering the national run of record monthly handles for October after the state’s Department of Revenue reported nearly $491.5 million in wagers for the month from its 17 retail and 25 mobile sportsbooks.

The Centennial State joined New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Indiana in the select circle of jurisdictions with more than $4 billion worth of wagers, reaching the milestone in 18 months. With more than $2.9 billion of those bets placed this year, Colorado ranks sixth among states in 2021 handle, wedged between Michigan ($2.95 billion) and Indiana ($2.9 billion).

Colorado’s October figure was a 20.4% increase from September’s short-lived record of $408.3 million and also more than doubled the $206.4 million in wagers taken in October 2020. The impressive handle, though, was not enough to reclaim the “Best of the Rest” for top handle generated by a state outside the “Big 4” of New Jersey, Nevada, Illinois, and Pennsylvania, as Michigan’s $497.6 million currently holds that spot. Colorado did become the 17th state of the 18 to publish revenue reports thus far in October to record an all-time high for monthly handle.

Colorado also posted an all-time monthly high for gross gaming revenue with more than $28.6 million, eclipsing the previous standard of $23.1 million in January and becoming the ninth state to post a monthly revenue total of at least $25 million. That resulted in a 5.82% hold for operators, a slight improvement from September’s 5.55%, but still the fourth-worst of Colorado’s 18 months of wagering.

The state, though, was only able to tax slightly more than one-third of that amount, as operators reported an adjusted gaming revenue total of close to $9.8 million. That was still a marked improvement from September, when the $20.8 million in promotional revenue accounted for nearly 92% of the $22.7 million claimed by operators. The result was Colorado receiving more than $1.2 million in tax receipts — its most for any month in operation — as taxes collected for the year neared $9 million.

Parlays pad revenue, but bettors outperform peers

More than two-fifths of Colorado’s operator revenue came from parlays in October, with records set for both revenue ($12.1 million) and handle ($89.7 million). The 13.46% win rate for the house, though, was notably lower than September’s 17.92% hold, as well as the 2021 national hold of 17% among the eight states that report parlay handle and revenue. The result was a 7.8% increase in parlay revenue month over month despite a 43.5% increase in handle.

As a standalone category, parlay handle was a distant second to NFL wagering, as bettors placed $171.2 million worth of wagers on pro football, accounting for 34.8% of the total handle. They also did fairly well, as operators could only claim approximately $6.3 million, resulting in a sub-4% win rate for the second consecutive month at 3.67%. Colorado bettors have wagered just shy of $297 million on NFL games the last two months, but the house has claimed less than $10.8 million in revenue.

Outside of parlays, the house’s best source of revenue came from baseball wagering, as it collected nearly $3.5 million from $37.4 million bet for a heathy 9.36% win rate. Basketball revenue totaled close to $2.5 million, but the hold there was 3.88%, as the Nuggets and the NBA continue to be a solid draw for sportsbooks with $63.3 million.

Bettors also had their best month in terms of win rate when it came to table tennis, limiting operators to an all-time low monthly hold of 4.08%, well off the overall 6.74% win rate. Operators collected $420,926 from more than $10.3 million worth of wagers, the latter representing the fifth-highest handle since launch.

Hockey was the only other sport where operators claimed a seven-figure revenue haul, pulling in more than $1.1 million from close to $13.2 million worth of bets.

Chris Altruda has been a sportswriter with ESPN, The Associated Press, and STATS over more than two decades. He recently expanded into covering sports betting and gambling around the Midwest.

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