Colorado Clears $3 Billion In Post-PASPA Handle Thanks To August Surge

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Colorado became the sixth state to clear $3 billion in post-PASPA sports betting handle in August, with the state’s Department of Revenue reporting Monday that operators accepted nearly $212 million worth of wagers last month.

The Centennial State joined New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Indiana in reaching the marker, and it did so in 16 months of operation. Of the six, Colorado was fourth-fastest, beating out Indiana (21 months) and Pennsylvania (22). The pace of some states was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A rise in parlay play contributed to a 16.9% increase in handle compared to July’s total of $181.3 million, with nearly $61.9 million wagered in that category in August. With more sportsbooks offering same game parlays, in which bettors can build multiple picks for potentially larger payouts in easier fashion, the trend appears to be taking off nationwide. It will probably be reflected more strongly in September numbers, with the first month of the NFL season factored into handle and revenue totals.

Operators in Colorado reaped more than $15.2 million in gross gaming revenue in August, down 2.7% from the prior month, with the reduction influenced by a pedestrian 7.19% win rate. The year-over-year metrics showed vast improvement, however, as handle increased 64.7% versus August 2020 and revenue more than doubled from last year’s $7.5 million.

The state levied taxes on slightly less than $7.1 million in adjusted revenue, resulting in $726,366 worth of receipts. That was enough for Colorado to clear $10 million in taxes since the state began accepting wagers in May 2020, including more than $7.2 million in 2021.

Parlays the top revenue driver, but bettors hold their own

Parlays provided the largest percentage of operator revenue at nearly $4.7 million, but bettors did fairly well considering the sportsbooks’ 7.57% win rate from them in August was well below the 13.25% hold for the year among such bets. The $61.9 million wagered on parlays was more than double July’s total and the most of any month this year, outpacing the $55.8 million from March.

For the year, the $362.1 million wagered on parlays represents 18% of the slightly more than $2 billion in overall handle, while the nearly $48 million in their gross revenue accounts for close to 35% of the $137.3 million operators have collected.

Parlays ranked second in August’s category handle to baseball, on which Coloradans placed nearly $70 million worth of wagers. Here, too, bettors improved on their performance versus the house compared to July. While operators collected $2.5 million in revenue, the 3.6% hold was well off July’s mark of 8.48% as revenue tumbled 51.6%.

Pro and college football provided the bulk of remaining monthly revenue with a combined $4.4 million, but it appears that most of that “revenue” came in the way of futures wagering given there was little on-field action. Pro football ranked second in handle with just under $13.6 million, edging out tennis ($13.5 million). Soccer ($11.5 million) and pro basketball ($10.6 million) also reached eight figures.

Table tennis continued to hold sway in Colorado, with more than $8.1 million wagered in August. Bettors had their best month from it since launch, in holding the house to a 4.77% win rate — the first time it was below 5%. Table tennis has been in the top 10 for Colorado handle every month since launch, with more than $135.7 million in wagers accepted overall.

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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