Legal sports betting in Colorado suffered its first-ever monthly sports betting handle decline since the state launched legal sports wagering in May 2020. However, it’s not all doom-and-gloom. Putting things into perspective, despite an 18.5% decrease on the record January 2021 betting handle figure of $326.9 million and a slight dip on December 2020’s $284 million, the February sports betting handle still managed $266.5 million wagered in the Mile-High State for the month. That number is the 3rd highest month out of 10 months reported to date in Colorado. Don’t panic Colorado, the sports wagering business is not ready to collapse.
Basketball numbers drive Colorado Sports Betting in February
In February 2020, Colorado sports bettors wagered 35% of the total handle on NBA Basketball which added up to a neat $95 million. College Basketball also reported big numbers in February ($24.2 million) showing Colorado’s passion for betting on hoops. They are exactly the sort of numbers that make sports betting analysts and experts positive about where March Madness may drive the Colorado sports betting numbers. Another record is looming next month, with March Madness tournament the second largest annual betting event on the sporting calendar, after the Super Bowl.
Speaking of the NFL showpiece, the Super Bowl attracted $39.5 million in wagers alone for just the one game.
Other sports to do well in February included a surprising leap forward for Table Tennis betting with $13 million in wagers, and with the Colorado Avalanche one of the form teams of the NHL, hockey betting was not far behind in fifth place with another $13 million.
Parlay wagers and other combination bets totaled almost $40 million of the handle, while all other sports other sports other than the top five combined for another $48.5 million in February.
All in all, slightly more $322 000 in tax revenue was raised.
Analysts and industry experts expect a big March rebound in Colorado
February’s downward trend in the Colorado handle was widely expected and follows a nationwide trend for the second month of the year. February is the shortest month of the year and usually in a non-leap year, has one less weekend of sports betting action to add to the tally. It was also the first month for many without NFL action as January concluded the final regular season games and playoffs. February numbers merely reflect a shorter month with fewer sports on offer rather than any decreasing interest from Colorado’s sports bettors.
According to leading Colorado sports betting analyst Jessica Welman;
“February is a reminder that with the seasonality of sports betting, growth is never assured even in a market like Colorado. 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,” Welman said.
Dan Hartman, Director of the Colorado Division of Gaming, the state’s sports betting regulator put things into a quite balanced and positive-minded perspective and he is also looking forward to March Madness as he wrote in a media statement;
“One year ago, we were talking about the casinos in Colorado shutting down due to the pandemic. This March, in comparison, we’re looking forward to a new outlook for the gaming industry, given the open sportsbook retail locations and multiple online options. Add in the March Madness championships, and we believe all of these factors will continue the growth trajectory that we see with sports betting in Colorado,” Hartman wrote.