Colorado’s sports betting industry suffered its first month-over-month decline in wagering to put the state in line with a nationwide trend of falling handles, a product of February’s 28 days and the conclusion of the NFL season, according to PlayColorado, which provides news and analysis of the state’s gaming industry.
“February is a reminder that with the seasonality of sports betting, growth is never assured even in a market like Colorado” said Jessica Welman, analyst for PlayColorado. “In nearly every legal betting market, a pullback from January was expected mainly because there is nowhere near the NFL inventory of games to bet on, even with the Super Bowl. Colorado is a unique market in many ways, but ultimately it is still subject to the same sports betting dynamics as any other state.”
Colorado’s online and retail sportsbooks combined to take in $266.5 million in bets in February, according to data released Monday by the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Division of Gaming. Overall handle was down 18.5% from $326.9 million in bets in January, and the lowest monthly handle since November’s $231.2 million. Bettors placed about $9.5 million bets per day in February, down from $10.5 million in January.
Sportsbooks generated $10.4 million in gross gaming revenue, down from the record $23.1 million in January, and yielding just $175,275 in net sports betting proceeds, down from $11.7 million in January. That produced just $332,227 in state taxes.
February marks the first time since Colorado launched sports betting in May that sportsbooks failed to set a new monthly handle record for the state. Retail in particular had a rough month, generating just $7.5 million in bets. 96.9% of all bets, or $258.2 million, were made online.
Colorado is the seventh-largest market in the U.S., falling just short of Indiana’s $273.9 million. Michigan, in its first full month of sports betting, topped both states with more than $325 million in online and retail betting.
“The month-over-month growth streak was bound to be snapped, but the underlying fundamentals of the market remain strong,” said Ian St. Clair, analyst for PlayColorado. “Retail sportsbooks continue to struggle amid the pandemic, but hopefully they will rebound as we move closer to normal.”
For the second-straight month, pro basketball betting eclipsed football with $95 million in wagers, by far the most-popular bet even with the Super Bowl being played in early February. With just one game to bet on, even if it was the Super Bowl, football betting fell to $39.6 million. And table tennis ($13 million) once again drew more action than more mainstream sports like ice hockey ($9.5 million).
College basketball took in $24.2 million, which wasn’t surprising. But sportsbooks lost $3.7 million on those bets.
“Colorado’s market continues to evolve in unforeseen ways, and it goes beyond the continued popularity of table tennis,” St. Clair said. “For February, Colorado bettors did extremely well on betting on college basketball, winning almost $4 million on the sport. That is unusual for what is typically the calm before March’s college basketball storm ”
For more information and analysis on regulated sports betting in Colorado, visit PlayColorado.com/revenue.
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The PlayUSA.com Network is a leading source for news, analysis, and research related to the market for regulated online gaming in the United States. With a presence in over a dozen states, PlayUSA.com and its state-focused branches (including PlayColorado.com, PlayIndiana.com, and PlayNJ.com) produce daily original reporting, publish in-depth research, and offer player advocacy tools related to the advancement of safe, licensed, and legal online gaming options for consumers. Based in Las Vegas, the PlayUSA Network is independently owned and operated, with no affiliations to any casino — commercial, tribal, online, or otherwise.