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

October 2020 is an interesting revenue report for a few reasons. Total sports betting handle in Colorado for October was up just 1.5% over September, noteworthy because each subsequent month averaged a 56.2% increase over the previous month. Despite this modest monthly bump in wagers, tax revenue surged 91.5%, putting $824,700 into the state’s coffers, a monthly record.

It would be premature to call October’s revenue report a plateau. The Stanley Cup Finals concluded at the end of September, and both the World Series and NBA Finals wrapped in October. NCAA football’s first full month back in action no doubt buoyed the state’s figures, and it’s likely both college and pro football will climb even higher over the next few months with less competition from other US pro sports leagues.

September 2020 saw the return of both pro and college football, which gave a major shot in the arm to Colorado sportsbooks, with wagers for the month topping $200 million for the first time, for more than $207 million total for the month. Baseball took its place atop the most popular sport to bet on list in September, with pro football landing on the list with authority in the #2 spot.

When the history books are written about Colorado sports betting, August 2020 will likely be viewed as the month when everything fell into place. Colorado’s fourth month of legal sports betting saw handle blow past all previous months, reaching $128 million. This was helped along in big part by the return of most major US pro sports leagues, which, by the numbers, are generally more attractive to bettors than table tennis or rugby. August also saw the total amount of wagers placed in Colorado top $250 million.

In July, total wagers in Colorado surged to over $59 million, 96.8% of which was placed online. The return of major league sports, even in a truncated capacity, are one possible explanation for the significant boost. Baseball wagers earned the top spot, exceeding $9.2 million. Soccer generated the second-highest total wager, coming in at above $7.6 million. The rise of soccer and baseball knocked former champ table tennis down to the third spot, where it logged $5.1 million in wagers. In fourth and fifth, respectively, were golf ($4.8 million) and basketball ($3.3 million).

For June, Colorado sports betting took in nearly 50% more in wagers, surpassing $38 million. With most major U.S. pro sports leagues starting up again in July, the Colorado Gaming Commission itself said June’s figures portend well for the nascent market.

Colorado’s $25.6 million revenue figure for the first month of legal sports betting was impressive, to say the least. Even with no domestic pro sports being played at the time of launch, bettors flocked to the budding CO market in droves, even if table tennis or MMA were their only options. The market’s early show of strength bodes well for sports betting in Colorado as the market matures.

Part of what made Colorado sports betting’s strong May 2020 revenue figure possible was that sportsbook brands scrambled to offer bettors action on a variety of international or alternative professional sports that your average sports bettor might not typically bet on. Table tennis represented a full quarter of Colorado’s sports wagers in may, making it far and away the most popular choice. Such a scenario would have been unthinkable in early March.

The fact that so many people clamored to place legal sports bets on nontraditional sports is a hopeful sign, but the next major indicator will be the figures in coming months.

Charting Colorado Sports Betting

Colorado Month-To-Month Betting Handle

Since the May 1 launch, Colorado’s sports betting industry has seen a month-to-month increase in overall betting handle in six consecutive months.

From July to August, Colorado sportsbooks saw the number of total bets more than double ($59.2 million in July to $128.6 million in August). The arrival of football season pushed September betting handle over the $207 million mark, and October set another new high at $210.7 million.

Colorado Month-To-Month Net Proceeds

Colorado Year-To-Date Net Proceeds

“Net Proceeds” refers to total revenue taken in by Colorado sportsbooks after subtracting customer acquisition promos like risk-free bets and deposit match bonuses. In September, for instance, Colorado sportsbooks took in the highest monthly betting handle in the short history of the industry, but showed a net loss of around $3.4 million in Net Proceeds after promos were deducted.

October, however, saw Colorado set new records in both betting handle and revenue. Colorado sportsbooks realized more than $9.64 million in revenue for October, more than all five previous months combined.

Colorado Betting Handle: Online Vs. Retail

In all states with both online and retail sports betting, online wagering makes up the majority of overall betting handle. In New Jersey and Pennsylvania, for example, more than 80% of all sports bets come from mobile platforms.

The dominance of mobile sports betting is even more significant in Colorado, with more than 98% of overall bets coming from online sports betting. These figures are taken from a starting point of July 2020, as the Colorado Division of Gaming didn’t break down online versus retail handle figures in May or June.

Colorado Handle vs. Player Payouts By Sport September 2020

NFL football accounted for nearly a third of all bets taken by Colorado sportsbooks in October. Baseball followed a distant second in the monthly revenue figures, bolstered by the 2020 postseason playing throughout the month.

For the second straight month, baseball stood as a more favorable sport for bettors, with sportsbooks taking a 5.6% hold on baseball bets. For NFL wagers, by comparison, sportsbooks realized a nearly 8% hold.

Colorado Bets By Sport September 2020

Colorado Sports Betting Revenue Totals

MonthTotal WagersMobileRetailNet ProceedsGGRM/M Change %Hold %Mobile %
September 2020$207,655,942.72$203,882,793.41$3,773,149.31($3,394,190.44)$4,166,334.2161%
1.85%98%
August 2020$128,646,209.09$126,666,237.91$1,979,971.18$1,877,911.13$7,519,598.67117%
5.74%98.5%
July 2020$59,183,619.73$58,600,805.04$582,814.69$2,417,311.01$5,196,598.6655.2%
8.8%96.8%
June 2020$38,136,949.16N/AN/A$2,169,977.98N/A48.8%9.14%N/A
May 2020$25,621,761.63N/AN/A$946,741.34N/AN/A9.1%N/A

October 2020 Revenue

 

September 2020 Revenue

SportTotal WagersPayments to PlayersHouse Take/(Loss)*
Baseball$47,108,860.96$50,153,775.13($3,044,914.17)
Football - Pro American$38,611,752.36$36,867,373.77$1,744,378.59
Basketball$37,774,553.37$37,475,326.15$299,277.22
Ice Hockey$11,472,946.85$11,115,798.73$357,148.12
Table Tennis$5,377,072.54$4,999,511.81$377,560.73
Tennis$5,050,502.74$4,798,529.86$251,972.88
Soccer$4,908,030.85$4,452,457.38$455,573.47
NCAA Football$3,840,317.393,683,244.46$157,072.93
Golf$3,214,443.24$2,680,710.41$533,732.83
MMA$1,408,512.77$1,461,792.83($53,280.06)
Parlays/Combinations$28,172,698.56$24,258,838.46$3,913,860.1
Other$20,716,251.09$21,542,249.52($825,998.43)
Total$207,655,942.72$203,489,608.51$4,166,334.21

August 2020 Revenue

SportTotal WagersPayments to PlayersHouse Take/(Loss)*
Basketball$38,040,027.19$35,911,811.92$2,128,215.27
Baseball$22,789,309.27$21,459,137.27$1,330,172
Hockey - Ice$13,594,062.38$12,405,910.05$1,188,152.33
Table Tennis$4,526,501.53$4,178,750.84$347,750.69
Golf$4,477,179.41$4,820,207.30($343,027.89)
Soccer$3,528,514.35$3,451,232.95$77,281.40
Tennis$2,407,449.04$2,247,892.96$159,556.08
MMA$1,942,811.96$1,998,969.53($56,157.57)
Competition$618,381.05$634,588.24($16,207.19)
Motorsports$299,440.00$256,073.83$43,366.17
Parlays/Combinations$22,662,125.06$19,546,497.83$3,115,627.23
Other$13,757,407.85$13,535,396.06$222,011.79
Total$128,646,209.09$121,126,610.42$7,519,598.67

July 2020 Revenue

SportTotal WagersPayments to PlayersHouse Take/Loss*
Baseball$9,217,342.93$8,506,959.15$710,383.78
Soccer$7,601,500.94$6,980,349.05$621,151.89
Table Tennis$5,109,201.84$4,838,023.22$271,178.62
Golf$4,830,141.41$4,112,837.75$717,303.66
Basketball$3,334,819.96$3,258,329.69$76,490.27
MMA$2,643,975.98$2,406,604.92$237,371.06
Tennis$2,086,288.11$1,988,189.42$98,098.69
Motorsports$461,760.24$329,144.97$132,615.27
Hockey - Ice$394,569.53$116,625.28$277,944.25
Boxing$293,147$243,058.93$50,088
Parlays/Combinations$8,638,481.34$7,225,240.79$1,413,240.55
Other$14,572,390.37$13,981,657.90$590,732.47
Total$59,183,619.73$53,987,021.07$5,196,598.66

June 2020 Revenue

SportTotal WagersPayments to PlayersHouse Take/Loss*
Table Tennis$9,148,983.78$8,613,560.58$535,423.20
Soccer$4,136,068.79$3,847,441.38$288,627.41
Golf$3,436,743.27$2,966,895.68$469,847.59
MMA$2,159,115.52$2,151,447.24$7,668.28
Tennis$1,336,627.89$1,276,160.05$60,467.84
Baseball$1,238,543.27$1,201,296.48$37,246.79
Motorsports$617,682.93$519,181.19$98,501.74
Basketball$442,545.77$331,842.40$110,703.37
Boxing$315,552.20$278,328.73$37,223.47
Football - Pro American$94,436.80$3,106.88$91,329.92
Parlays/Combinations$4,673,441.21$3,881,682.92$791,758.29
Other$10,537,237.73$9,581,991.02$955,246.71
Total$38,136,949.16$34,652,934.55$3,484,014.61

*Figures shown are pre-tax and include as-yet-unsettled futures bets.

May 2020 Revenue

SportTotal Wagers Payments to PlayersHouse Take/Loss*
Table Tennis$6,589,474.74$6,175,578.01$413,896.73
MMA$1,742,607.59$1,477,991.99$264,615.60
Baseball$1,656,613.48$1,674,906.67($18,293.19)
Soccer$1,529,843.84$1,459,483.22$70,360.62
Golf$1,423,683.66$1,277,230.93$146,452.73
Tennis$708,762.18$655,333.78$53,428.40
Motorsports$520,317.02$409,548.04$110,858.98
Football (Pro American)$252,237.56$1,930.21$250,307.35
Darts$133,290.81$123,171.68$10,119.13
Hockey - Ice$117,395.06$45,681.24$71,713.82
Parlays/Combinations$3,007,110.65$2,504,887.15$502,223.50
Total$25,621,761.63$23,056,032.77$2,565,728.86

*Figures shown are pre-tax and include as-yet-unsettled futures bets.

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.