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The state of Colorado raised a few eyebrows when it decided to launch its legal sports betting platform on May 1, smack in the middle of a global pandemic and during a time when sports around the globe were mostly shut down. But May numbers show that those in charge must have been looking into a crystal ball. $25.5 million in gross, unaudited sports betting revenue was generated by sportsbooks in the state, easily surpassing expectations for the first, mostly sports-less month of legalization.
Colorado was expected to be one of the most promising “new states” that have welcomed legal sports betting in 2020. The 19th state to legalize sports wagers, Colorado is projected by PlayColorado.com to bring in a healthy $6 billion in bets annually, which would create and estimated $400 million in gross operator revenue and a tidy tax bill for state and local coffers. With May’s numbers seemingly shrugging off a time of limited sports, Colorado looks to be off to a good start in achieving those lofty goals.
“Colorado’s month-one results cement the state as a leader in the US gambling arena. $25 million in revenue is impressive on its own, and it’s even more impressive when you consider how sparse the gambling options are during a globally trying time,” said Chris Nesi, Managing Editor for ColoradoSharp.com. “This first month showcases the strength of the Colorado gaming industry, and I think we’ll continue to see impressive numbers from the state in the future.”
Big names generate big returns
The Colorado market was buoyed in May by the presence of some of the biggest betting providers in the country. BetMGM, BetMonarch, BetRivers, Fox Bet and the two biggest DFS providers in the world staked their claim early in Colorado, giving the platform instant credibility and some serious competition for customers to take advantage of.
Colorado now has 17 land-based casinos with of six online sports wagering services but is expected to have up to 35 mobile sportsbooks operating in the state when it is fully up-and-running. It is notable that the $25.5 million handle came on from just six mobile sportsbooks. Names like PointsBet, William Hill CircaSports, SuperBook USA, Bet365, Betfred and theScore Bet are all lined up to go live in Colorado making the state one of the most exciting markets in the country.
For comparison sake…
Indiana, which is widely considered one of the top-5 successful pro-betting states generated $35 million in bets in October, 2019 during its first month of legalized betting – and that was a month that saw all major sports in full swing, including the cash-cow, the NFL. Colorado’s $25.5 million handle in May looks that much better when considering that.
The state of Oregon, which boasts 57,000 registered legal betting customers had a handle of $7.3 million in May and it has been live since October as well. That means that Colorado, the newest state to welcome sports betting generated over 3-times what an experienced state with a definite wagering foundation managed.
Colorado’s handle came on the heels of what???
May’s sports scene, although better than what we saw in April was still slim to say the least. Sure, we saw three UFC events, NASCAR racing, the PGA’s The Match: Champions for Charity and German soccer but the Colorado’s handle was still mostly reliant on futures betting, table tennis and Korean baseball.
Although there has certainly been some great news on impending pro sports returns, it looks like bettors in Colorado will have to wait until August before a full slate of betting opportunities returns and a real reflection of just how popular their sports betting platform will be.
The NHL and NBA already have deals in place to commence their seasons, golf comes back later this week, the NFL is so far all-systems-go and MLB is trying its best to get back on the field. The sky is the limit for Colorado once the sporting world returns to full health and has only increased the intensity of their spotlight with an unexpected, nearly unfathomable May.