There was a common theme running through the US legal sports betting industry in February. Slumps characterized the handles in all participating jurisdictions. But from one bad trend comes a good one – March’s sports betting action across the country has seen across-the-board increases, thanks to Basketball.
The latest state to report a March Madness bump is Colorado, which this week released its March sports betting figures. What they revealed was the second-highest handle in the state’s 11-month sports betting existence. March’s impressive haul also took Colorado past a milestone $2 billion in lifetime handle.
“These large totals posted month-over-month show us that Coloradans are embracing this new form of entertainment,” Dan Hartman, director of the Division of Gaming, said in a news release. “We look forward to what will emerge in the market moving forward, as more and more sporting leagues resume a regular schedule of play and what that will translate into returns for Coloradans.”
Breaking Down the Numbers
According to the Colorado Division of Gaming, its state’s sportsbooks were able to take in $301 million during the resurgent month of March when the NCAA Basketball Tournament gripped not only the sports betting world but the country as a whole. March’s handle represents a 12.9% increase from February’s $266.5 million when there was only 28 betting days, one less weekend of betting action and a tangible Super Bowl betting hangover.
March’s handle, although impressive, fell short of the state record of $326.9 million set in January.
March’s gross gaming revenues (GGR) also revealed a nice increase over February. Sportsbooks in the state made $20.4 million, an impressive 95% more than the $10.4 million they made in February. This is thanks, in part to a 6.77% hold in March – a huge increase from the 3.92% hold in February.
From the profits, Colorado sportsbooks contributed $1.06 million in taxes to state and local coffers thanks to the 10% state sports betting tax rate. It was a nice 219.3% spike from February’s $332,227 in tax contributions.
Mobile Apps and Basketball Were the Story
The mobile betting scene in Colorado continues to dominate the state’s overall handle. Outside of Tennessee, the only mobile-only legal sports betting state in the country, Colorado is the most successful internet-based sports wagering platform in the land.
In March, betting apps in Colorado were responsible for $295.2 million of the $301 million overall take, or 98%. That’s up 14.3% from February’s $258.2 million mobile handle.
Basketball was the other major story in the Colorado legal sports betting scene. March Madness surprisingly was the second-highest contributor to the overall handle with $70.9 million. Pro basketball was the biggest earner with $106.9 million, hockey was next with $13.7 million, tennis $10.8 and soccer $8.9 million. For the first time in about a year, the juggernaut Table Tennis didn’t make the Top-5.
Colorado continues to sit in the second tier of bet-friendly states behind the more populous and liberal betting states of New Jersey, Nevada and Pennsylvania, among others. It is currently sixth among the states that have already reported their March take with Illinois and Virginia still to release their figures. It is respectable considering the size of the Colorado market and just where the Colorado scene started.
“With the NCAA Tournament, a return to growth is no surprise, but it is still good to see after a bit of a relatively disappointing month,” said Ian St. Clair, an analyst for sports betting website PlayColorado, in a news release. “Considering the circumstances Colorado launched under, at a time when major U.S. sports were dormant, the state really has been one of the U.S. sports betting industry’s greatest success stories.”
Heading into April
Colorado sportsbooks are expected to maintain the momentum in April. March’s baseball numbers were less-than-spectacular ($600,000) but are expected to pick up dramatically as we head deeper into the summer and games start to mean a little more. The NBA and NHL seasons are winding down as well and are expected to pique bettors’ interest during the month.
Colorado has some work to do in order to stay in the “Top-8” of betting jurisdictions within the US market. Newcomer Virginia is expected to push Colorado and make its presence felt on the leaderboard. Maryland is a state to look out for as well.
So, while topping the January record-handle isn’t likely a possibility until the Denver Broncos take the field again in September, decent numbers are expected to persist in in Colorado.