Colorado Sports Betting Handle Jumps 117% in August; 98.5% of Bets Placed Online

Move over ping-pong, it’s basketball, baseball, and hockey’s time to shine.

With all major U.S. sports leagues back in action, and retail sportsbooks popping up all over the state, Colorado sports betting had its best monthly handle yet for August, the Colorado Limited Gaming Commission reported on Wednesday, Sept. 23.

The total amount wagered on sports in Colorado’s fourth month of legal sports betting surged to over $128 million, with net tax proceeds collected totaling $189,000. The August totals more than doubled those for July, in which $59 million was wagered on sports. Since launch, Colorado sports betting revenue and total wagers has only gone in a single direction: up.

Online Sports Betting Is Dominating The Landscape

Even though more retail sportsbooks open in the state with each passing month, the proportion of wagers taken online seems to only be growing. In July, 96.8% of all CO sports wagers were placed online. This month that figure climbed to 98.5%.

Land casino sportsbooks were disadvantaged over apps because they got a slower rollout due to COVID-19, but it’s interesting to see the near-total dominance of apps in the Colorado market so far. As more licenses are approved, and more Colorado casinos open their own kiosks or retail windows, it will be interesting to see if the balance shifts in favor of in-person sportsbooks even a little bit.

A Hopeful Trajectory For Colorado Sports Betting

Sports betting was legalized by Colorado voters in November 2019, with the first bets in the state placed on May 1, 2020. Even at the height of pandemic casino closures and stay-at-home orders in effect, Colorado sports bettors wagered more than $25 million. Considering the circumstances, the figure was an early indicator of the strength of the CO sports betting market.

Those numbers were dwarfed in June, when more than $38 million was wagered, a 50% increase over the previous month. July’s figures again set the bar higher, with a $59 million take at Colorado sportsbooks, a 64% increase from June’s already impressive figure. August marks the first month of legal sports betting that Colorado saw a monthly handle exceeding $100 million, which it blew past, taking in more than $128 million, an eye-popping 117% increase over July.

August’s numbers shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, given how the number of retail and online sportsbooks in Colorado has grown considerably since its humble May beginnings, with 15 apps and eight retail sportsbooks currently in operation in the state as of this writing. August also marked the first full month where pro sports had resumed since legalization. In their absence, CO sports bettors flocked to sports like table-tennis and MMA, but bread-and-butter sports like hockey, basketball, and baseball have risen to the top now that they’re playing again.

Top 5 Most Wagered Sports At Colorado Sportsbooks in August 2020

August saw a reshuffling of the top-ranking sports by total wagers, with table tennis’ dominance finally giving way to more mainstream sports betting fare. In fact, the amount wagered on basketball alone in August matched the entire sports betting handle for the month of June, at $38 million. The top 5 sports wagered on in Colorado in August were as follows:

  1. Basketball ($38,040,027.19)
  2. Baseball ($22,789,309.27)
  3. Ice Hockey ($13,594,062.38)
  4. Table Tennis ($4,529,501.53)
  5. Golf ($4,477,179.41)

What’s Next For CO Sports Betting?

At this month’s Colorado Limited Gaming Commission meeting, Colorado Division of Gaming Director Dan Hartman hinted that the August handle would eclipse $100 million for the first time, so we knew the monthly totals would be big.

He also indicated that the number of sports betting operators in the state could grow from 15 currently to as many as 26 or more by year’s end, a strong indication that the CO sports betting market is only just getting started. The wildcard will be whether retail sportsbooks start drawing in more bettors, or whether the Colorado market is destined to be utterly dominated by apps.

August brings the total amount wagered at Colorado sportsbooks to just over $250 million. The fact that the market overcame countless obstacles to take in over a quarter-billion dollars is a solid indicator of things to come.

About the Author

Chris Nesi

Chris Nesi is Managing Editor of Colorado Sharp. He’s been an editor and writer for more than a decade, with experience spanning newspapers, magazines, digital news, and commercial writing. His work can be found in publications including TechCrunch, Mental Floss and Huffington Post. Chris lives just outside of Denver and enjoys regular trips to Black Hawk. He bets the hard ways and always splits 8s.