Colorado fledgling sports wagering industry passed its first major test with flying colors with a packed program of U.S. professional sports in August 2020. The previous months of May, June and July were only ‘part months’ due to the enforced closure of the majority of professional sports.
Online sports betting begun officially in Colorado in May, reporting $38.1 million in June straight out of the gates in its first full month despite a rather barren sports landscape (Table Tennis was the most popular sport in May 2020, with over $7 million in bets placed on table tennis alone). In July 2020, that number advanced to $59.1 million, according to the official results, leading us nicely to August – and what a success it was!
With a hectic sports wagering schedule of MLB, NBA, and NHL games throughout August, land-based and online sportsbooks combined to achieve $128.6 million in betting handle, up 117% from $59.2 million in July, according to the release of official data recently. The bets over the 31 days of August roped in $1.9 million in net betting revenue, surprisingly down (at first glance) 22% from the $2.4 million reported in July. However, the drop in net revenue came in spite of a rise in gross revenue to $7.5 million from $5.2 million, being directly the result of increased sports wagering industry marketing.
The top three sports by total wagers, at both land-based and online sportsbooks, in August 2020 were;
- Basketball with $38,040,027 (a healthy 29.6% of the total stake and assisted by the deep run of the Denver Nuggets through to the NBA’s Western Conference Finals).
- Baseball with $22,789,309
- Ice Hockey with $13,594,062
Other popular sports reported in the Colorado August results included;
- Table Tennis 3.5%
- Golf 3.5%
- Tennis 1.9%
- MMA 1.5%
August only the beginning for Colorado according to industry experts
September’s results are expected in Colorado to be even better, according to leading industry analyst Jessica Welman;
“As impressive as August was, September will almost certainly be even better with the Nuggets and Broncos in play (in Colorado). With table tennis as the state’s top draw in the first few months, it was impossible to get a reliable read on Colorado’s market. We now know it’s a market that responds well to its home teams. After September, though, we will find out how much interest in sports betting is driven locally as the Nuggets season wanes and if the Broncos continue to struggle.”
As far as the experts are concerned, Colorado is prepared to reach sports betting market maturity way ahead of schedule.
“Considering the obstacles Colorado’s market has had to face since it launched in May, the results so far have surpassed the expectations of all but the most optimistic,” said Dustin Gouker, one of Welman’s industry expert colleagues.
“Colorado is already in a small group of major U.S. sports betting markets, and it has reached that level long before the market has matured. Colorado started as a relatively open market for sportsbook operators and a well-conceived regulatory framework have made the state especially appealing. With multiple bookmakers who have never operated in the U.S. before, Colorado is beginning to look like no other market in the U.S.” he concluded.
We have to say that we concur. Original forecasts were made that the Colorado online sports betting industry was ready to generate $6 billion in annual betting handle within 4 to 5 years, but those estimates were made before the global pandemic struck. Once it did, it’s since become clear that the future is online and Colorado’s sportsbooks appear perfectly placed to strike.