Colorado Sports Betting Handle Ticks Higher In May To $248.9 Million


The Colorado Department of Revenue released its sports betting report for the month of May, and the nearly $249 million in handle was a slight increase from April.

The Centennial State cleared $2.5 billion in cumulative handle as it began its second year of legalized sports wagering, becoming just the sixth state to reach that milestone with New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Indiana. Mobile wagering accounted for 99% of the total handle in May, with retail sportsbooks accepting just under $2.5 million in bets.

Operators generated nearly $15.2 million in gross gaming revenue, resulting in a hold of 6.09%. The revenue represented a 13.7% drop in contrast to April’s total of almost $17.6 million. Additionally, the net sports betting proceeds for May fell sharply to more than $5.9 million — well off April’s $10.5 million that was the third-highest total from the first 12 months of play. As a result, the state collected just $635,641 in tax receipts compared to the nearly $1.1 million in April.

Overall, the net sports betting proceeds represented 39% of the gross gaming revenue in May. Colorado has been able to tax nearly $39 million of the $86.6 million in gross gaming revenue — nearly 45% — generated by sports betting operators through the first five months of the year.

Colorado’s report, though, did push national operator revenue over $4 billion in the post-PASPA era, which began May 2018.

Basketball top handle generator with help from Nuggets

Basketball proved to be the top draw in May as bettors plunked down $86.9 million in bets. The Nuggets likely provided a boost with four playoff games from their first-round series victory over Portland coupled with bets placed on center Nikola Jokic winning the NBA MVP award, which he did in early June.

Operators claimed nearly $5.4 million in revenue on pro basketball in May, nearly double the $2.8 million won in April. Pro basketball betting has accounted for nearly one-third of the close to $1.4 billion wagered overall in Colorado this year.

The $49 million wagered on baseball was also the highest monthly handle for that sport since launch, with bettors holding their own as operators collected only $2.2 million in revenue for a 4.53% win rate. Baseball continues to be a sport where Coloradans have proven savvy — operators have totaled less than $5.8 million in revenue on more than $203 million wagered.

Parlays were the second-highest revenue generator for operators, who posted an 11.57% win rate to keep more than $5 million of the $43.6 million wagered. That hold percentage, though, was the worst of any month for operators since taking bets in May 2020.

Parlays have generated close to $34.6 million in gross gaming revenue this year, accounting for nearly 40% of the overall total. The hold on those wagers has been 14.68%, more than double the 6.25% for all wagering done in Colorado thus far in 2021.

Hockey ($15.5 million), table tennis ($10.3 million), and soccer ($9.9 million) rounded out the top five sports by handle, with table tennis clearing the $100 million benchmark in handle. Bettors fared incredibly well in golf, claiming over $5.3 million in payouts from close to $4.8 million wagered, resulting in a -11.11% hold for the house.

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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