Colorado sportsbooks etched another entry into the record book, becoming the sixth state to surpass $225 million in handle in a single month even as the NBA and NHL remained dormant, according to PlayColorado.
“With five games in November, the Broncos gave a boost to sportsbooks,” said Dustin Gouker, analyst for PlayColorado.com. “Almost every legal jurisdiction in the U.S. has been growing this fall. But a common theme among them all is that a local NFL team can really make a significant difference in a month’s handle, and that is particularly true in Colorado.”
Colorado’s online and retail sportsbooks took in $231.2 million in November wagers, according to data released Tuesday by the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Division of Gaming. That was up 9.7% from the previous record of $210.7 million set in October, marking the seventh consecutive month that the state has posted a record handle.
The record wagering generated record revenue, too. Operators took in $18.4 million in gross gaming revenue, up 5.5% from $17.4 million in October. Colorado sportsbooks have now produced $58.7 million in gross revenue since launching, and $35.8 million of that has come in the last two months.
Net sports betting proceeds dipped slightly to $9 million, down from $9.6 million in October. November’s proceeds yielded $793,820 in state taxes
“The unusual circumstances that Colorado’s industry launched made for an uneven start in terms of tax revenue, but sports betting is becoming more reliable,” said Ian St. Clair, analyst for PlayColorado.com. “The industry’s growth should continue to pay dividends for the state. The timing is good, obviously, as rarely has that tax revenue been more needed.”
Again, nearly all of November’s wagers were made digitally. Online sportsbooks attracted $226.8 million, or 98.1% of the month’s handle. That is up from $206.4 million, or 98%, of October’s wagers.
The NFL was overwhelmingly the most popular bet, drawing in $88.4 million in wagers, up from $68 million in October. Spurred by the Colorado Buffaloes’ undefeated start to the season, bettors placed $22.2 million on college football, up from $16.5 million in October.
But during a month when the NBA and NHL would typically be popular bets, table tennis continued to be a significant draw, taking in $12.4 million in bets, up from $9.3 million.
“Colorado’s market in most ways follows similar patterns to what we see in other states, so if a local team like the Buffs does well, then sportsbooks do well,” St. Clair said. “The continued interest in Russian table tennis is unique to Colorado, though, and can best be explained by the fact that Colorado launched sports betting in May when traditional American sports were all shut down. That gave oxygen to certain international sports, particularly table tennis, that would have never gotten attention otherwise.”
November’s wagers will likely place Colorado sixth in the U.S., behind New Jersey, presumably Nevada (which will release November data later this month), Pennsylvania, presumably Illinois (data expected to be released in January), and No. 5 Indiana, which produced a state record $251.4 million in November.
“After surprisingly falling behind Indiana in October, Colorado managed to regain its pace,” Gouker said. “Indiana and Colorado are so similar in terms of population, makeup of the local sports landscape, and a balanced regulatory framework, that the two should remain close for the foreseeable future.”