Colorado Sports Betting Revenue

Colorado voters approved Proposition DD in November 2019, paving the way for sports betting in the state by the slimmest of margins, 51% in favor and 49% opposed. The market officially launched on May 1, 2020, right as pro sports were delaying or canceling their seasons, and six weeks into statewide mandatory casino closures in light of COVID-19.

In spite of those long odds, Colorado’s inaugural month of sports betting took in an impressive amount of revenue by any measure. As the months progress, this page will be updated with the new monthly revenue totals as soon as the Colorado Limited Gaming Commission releases the figures.

Revenue Analysis

December 2020 finished up a year of steady growth for Colorado’s young sports betting industry. Overall betting handle gained month-to-month for every month following the May 2020 launch of sports betting.

Combined betting handle (online and retail) hit a new monthly high in December, with Colorado sportsbooks taking $284.5 million in bets. The strong December showing pushed betting handle to the $1.185 billion mark for 2020.

That $1 billion mark comes in just eight months of operations for Colorado’s sports betting industry. Of that total, 98 percent of wagers came from mobile wagering apps.

The strength of Colorado’s sports betting market comes from the viability of the state’s online sportsbooks. The Centennial State offers no less than 16 different online sports betting sites, and Colorado finished the year as one of the top five online sports betting markets in the US.

Charting Colorado Sports Betting

Colorado Month-To-Month Betting Handle 2020

Colorado’s sports betting industry rode an upward trend all the way from the May 2020 launch through the end of the year. December’s totals reported by the Colorado Department of Revenue showed state sportsbooks taking $284.5 million in bets, good for a 23% increase over November.

Colorado came in as the sixth-largest sports betting market in the US in December, based on overall betting handle. Only New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Indiana took more bets than Colorado for the month.

Colorado Month-To-Month Net Proceeds 2020

Colorado Year-To-Date Net Proceeds 2020

“Net Proceeds” refers to total revenue taken in by Colorado sportsbooks after subtracting customer acquisition promos like risk-free bets and deposit match bonuses.

Colorado’s net proceeds from sports betting slid significantly from November to December. The December net proceeds came in at $5,676,627 for the month, down 36.8% from November.

Sports betting revenue fluctuates month-to-month, however, as some months result in more bettor success than others. December did mark Colorado’s highest betting handle mark to date, despite the big dip in revenue.

With December totals factored in, Colorado’s sportsbooks earned $28.3 million in revenue for the year.

Colorado Betting Handle: Online Vs. Retail December 2020

The dominance of mobile sports betting plays a more significant in Colorado than any other state. More than 98% of overall bets come from online sports betting.

Land-based sports betting in the state is limited to casinos in three small mountain towns, as well as two tribal casinos. That landscape should continue to favor mobile wagering in Colorado for the long-term future.

Colorado Handle vs. Player Payouts By Sport December 2020

Colorado Bets By Sport December 2020

Pro football drove December betting handle, accounting for 31% of all bets. The NFL regular season finished up in December, and the arrival of the NFL playoffs in Janaury could push Colorado betting handle past the $300 million mark for the first time.

The arrival of the NBA and NCAA basketball seasons pushed wagering activity to new monthly highs. Table tennis continues as perhaps the most unexpected sport to make a significant impact on US sportsbooks.

Colorado Sports Betting Revenue Totals

MonthTotal WagersMobileRetailNet ProceedsGGRM/M Handle Change %Hold %Mobile %
December 2020$284,551,471.72$280,443,909.98$4,107,561.74$5,676,627.49
$16,559,673.95+23%6.1%98.6%
November 2020$231,238,842.15$226,872,186.87$4,366,655.28$8,977,426.77$18,354,655.08+9.7%
7.94%98.1%
October 2020$210,719,821.27$206,441,153,59$4,278,667.68$9,642,955.84$17,402,408.70+1.5%
8.26%98%
September 2020$207,655,942.72$203,882,793.41$3,773,149.31-$3,394,190.44$4,166,334.21+61%
1.85%98%
August 2020$128,646,209.09$126,666,237.91$1,979,971.18$1,877,911.13$7,519,598.67+117%
5.74%98.5%
July 2020$59,183,619.73$58,600,805.04$582,814.69$2,417,311.01$5,196,598.66+55.2%
8.8%96.8%
June 2020$38,136,949.16N/AN/A$2,169,977.98N/A+48.8%9.14%N/A
May 2020$25,621,761.63N/AN/A$946,741.34N/AN/A9.1%N/A
2020 Totals$1,185,754,617.47
$28,314,761.12

Where Does All That Money Go?

According to the Colorado Department of Revenue, the state collected $96,537.55 in taxes on proceeds of $946,741.34 from sports betting in May.

Colorado’s tax rate is 10% of gross gaming revenue (GGR), meaning 10 cents of every dollar made by casinos and sportsbooks go to the state. Colorado is considered a friendly tax environment, with 10% on the low end of other states’ ranges, for example Rhode Island (51% tax rate) and Delaware (50% tax rate).

According to Colorado gaming regulations, the first $130,000 in tax revenue collected is set aside by the state to pay for gambling addiction services, including a gambling crisis hotline and gambling addiction counselors.

Six percent of the tax, up to a $1.7 million maximum, is put into a hold harmless fund, which is meant to compensate casino or other gambling companies who experience financial losses that are provably linked to sports betting. These guidelines are all according to provisions of Proposition DD.

The balance of tax revenue, 66% for fiscal year 2020-2021, goes to fund Colorado’s state water plan, which aims to conserve and preserve water in the state to support its growing population, a project whose costs could exceed $40 billion, according to 2017 estimates.

Colorado Sports Betting Revenue FAQ

What is the Colorado sports betting license fee?

Fees to operate a legal sports betting business in Colorado differ depending if you intend to run a retail or online operation. Effective July 2020, an Internet Sports Betting Operator license costs $77,000. To obtain a license for a retail sportsbook, the license fee is $17,900.

Where does Colorado sports betting tax revenue go?

Colorado’s tax rate is 10% of gross gaming revenue (GGR), which means 10 cents of every dollar made by casinos and sportsbooks goes into state coffers.

According to Colorado gaming regulations, the first $130,000 in sports betting tax revenue collected is set aside by the state to pay for gambling addiction services.

Six percent of the tax, up to a $1.7 million maximum, is put into a hold harmless fund, which is meant to compensate casino or other gambling companies who experience financial losses that are provably linked to sports betting.

The balance of tax revenue, 66% for fiscal year 2020-2021, goes to fund Colorado’s state water plan, which aims to conserve and preserve water in the state to support its growing population.

How much tax revenue does Colorado sports betting take in?

You can see our revenue page above for a full month-by-month breakdown, but in the first three months of legal sports betting in Colorado (May, June, July 2020), the state collected $5,534,030.33 in sports betting tax revenue.

How much money has been bet on Colorado spots betting so far?

Again, scroll up to see our full sport-by-sport breakdown, but for the first three months of legal CO sports betting, a total of $122,942,330.52 has been wagered so far.

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.