Colorado Sports Betting Market Could Exceed $2 Billion Annually

Before Colorado sportsbooks accepted their first bet on May 1, wagering experts suggested the state’s betting market could take in more than $2 billion in annual handle. The eye-popping figure would bring in more than $1 million in taxes monthly to a state government looking for revenue sources in the current financial downturn caused by Covid-19.

The Action Network’s Darren Rovell wrote last week that Colorado, the 18th state in the country to offer legalized sports betting, could bring in roughly $12 million in tax revenue behind the power of $2 billion in yearly bets.

Why Colorado Sports Betting Will Succeed In Its Opening Year

The resistance to quickly adopting online betting after legalization became one of the early documented hiccups that cost tens of millions in tax revenue for states. Those states willing to take the plunge and become one of the first to offer sports betting were resistant to go all the way.

Pennsylvania, for example, became the poster child for losing revenue by only adopting on-site betting in the infancy of sports betting. But after sagging revenue reports and witnessing New Jersey rake in hundreds of millions in monthly handle, the state quickly corrected course and offered online sports betting via mobile app.

Colorado legislators learned their lesson after watching Pennsylvania sputter over their first few months by allowing online betting without setting foot in a casino on day one. States have learned that if you make it easy for bettors to make a wager, they will happily bet their money in your state and Colorado’s provision to allow everything to happen on the mobile app is a huge advantage for early success.

Putting aside Nevada, between the states that recently legalized, experts agree that New Jersey is the standard bearer for cutting red tape and allowing sportsbooks to drive the market. The Colorado sports betting bill is very much cut from the same cloth as New Jersey’s legislation, setting up the state and operators for big dividends once the four major American sports return from hiatus.

Low Fees Helps Attract Big Name Sportsbooks For Colorado Sports Betting

For sportsbook operators, Colorado is instantly attractive because they have set a very low annual operating fee of $54,000 with a moderate 10% tax rate on winnings. With low startup costs and the potential to be one of the first gaming companies in the state, sportsbook powerhouses DraftKings and FanDuel were ready to accept wagers on opening day.

DraftKings offers bettors a first-rate mobile app that is one of the most popular in the country. The company also is luring bettors with large deposit bonuses and quick payout turnarounds for customers.

Another gaming company that cut their teeth on daily fantasy sports but have made the transition to sports betting is FanDuel. On May 1st, the company opened their doors in Colorado, making a splash by offering similar bonuses like DraftKings with a smooth and easy to use mobile app.  

Being the first sportsbooks on the ground in Colorado has its advantages as it is just the second state west of the Mississippi River that allows a bettor to set up their sports betting account without needing to enter a casino.

New Jersey’s competitive environment among sportsbooks has made it easier for professional bettors to get great odds on games, but Colorado could be a potential disruptor as its lower cost of living and small state income tax might offer an enticing package to those pro bettors who want to stay in the Western United States.

How Players Bet During Colorado’s Opening Weekend For Sports Betting

With sports betting available on May 1st, bettors loaded their accounts and started placing wagers on events that are currently being held. Sportsbooks such as DraftKings offered odds on table tennis, belarusian soccer, darts, and the Chinese Professional Baseball league.

“Of course, we don’t have the content that we’d like to have,” Johnny Avello, director of race and sportsbook operations at DraftKings told the Denver Post. “But what we’re doing is pretty good. We’re happy with what we have because there’s nothing else out there. In that context, it’s not perfect. It’s not bad.

“And in light of what we’re able to offer right now, yeah, I think it was good. It shows me that the people from there are willing to look at other alternative sports.”

Former Denver Nuggets great Chauncey Billups held the honor of placing the state’s first legal online wager. Billups placed a $100 bet on new Broncos wide receiver Jerry Jeudy to win the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year at +2000. The former Nuggets guard stands to win $2,000 if Jeudy takes home the trophy at the end of the 2020 NFL season.

The largest bet for FanDuel over the weekend was a $882 bet on the Dallas Cowboys to win the Super Bowl. At +1700 odds, the bettor could win $15,000 if Dak Prescott and the Cowboys take home the Lombardi Trophy.

As the dust settled on opening weekend, Colorado bettors stayed loyal to their local teams. The Broncos were chosen by a majority of bettors to win the Super Bowl. The Colorado Rockies were the favorite among Colorado bettors to win the World Series. 

The same is said as wagers for the Colorado Avalanche to take the Stanley Cup topped early returns and although the Nuggets were taken on the most tickets over the weekend, the Los Angeles Lakers received the most money on wagers to win the 2019-20 NBA title.

As the MLB and NBA plot their return and the NFL creeps closer to possibly starting training camp, Colorado sportsbooks such as DraftKings, FanDuel, Fox Bet, the Score and PointsBet are fighting for customers as they offer deposit bonuses and other enticements to attract new bettors to a exciting, young market.

The early returns on Colorado sports betting are positive as the market begins to take shape with most sportsbooks ready to enter the fray in the months to come.

About the Author

Derek Worlow

Derek Worlow is a freelance writer that has covered the expansion of legal sports betting in America for several well-known industry websites. During his writing career, he has written profiles on dozens of athletes and contributed work on the collision of sports and politics. Derek has also published two acclaimed biographies about Texas quarterbacks; Johnny Manziel and Robert Griffin III.