In a single year, Colorado became the sixth state to cross the $1 billion mark for wagers as sportsbooks closed with another milestone month in 2020. According to PlayColorado, which offers news and analysis of the state’s gaming market, it was a significant achievement given the industry launched in May with no big US sports in operation.
Eight months of record wagering
Online and retail sportsbooks in Colorado posted their eighth consecutive month of record wagering in December with $284.6m, up 23.1 percent from the previous $231.2m record set in November.
In December, gross gaming revenue dropped just shy of a state high, reaching $17.2m. That was down from the gross gaming revenue high of $18.4m set in November. Net sports betting revenue, meanwhile, dropped to $5.7m, down from $9m in November. In December, sports betting yielded $531,490 in state taxes.
Ian St Clair, analyst for PlayColorado.com said: “Colorado’s launch in the heart of a pandemic has, perhaps inadvertently, spawned what could be the most innovative market in the country.
Unique betting markets
“It’s not just that table tennis remains a popular draw in the state, even months after the return of major US sports. It’s also the way operators are using unique betting markets to help connect with customers. The unusual recipe has unquestionably been a success.”
Colorado’s retail and online sportsbooks generated $1.2 billion in wagers for all of 2020, of which $1.17 billion was made online; $75.8 million in gross gaming revenue; $28.3 million in net betting proceeds; and $3 million in state taxes, including $2.2 million in the last three months.
Reliable state revenue
Jessica Welman, analyst for PlayColorado.com added: “After a slow start as sportsbooks ramped up, the last three months prove that sports betting will be a reliable revenue generator for the state.
“Revenue ebbs and flows in every sports betting market, typically peaking at the height of the football season. In that way, Colorado’s pattern is on par with what we see most everywhere in the US.”
Colorado is likely to be sixth in the US, behind only New Jersey, probably Nevada and Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Indiana, with strong action on pro football ($88.2m), pro basketball ($42.9m), and college basketball ($35.2m) in December.
Table tennis generating bets
But the Centennial State has not followed a traditional path to being one of the biggest markets in the United States. This year, table tennis has generated $63.5m in bets, including $11m in December. More has only been produced by football, baseball and basketball.
And in drumming up attention, sportsbooks have been innovative. In December, FanDuel offered a promotion in which the line moved one point in favor of the University of Colorado for every 500 fans who put a bet on the Buffaloes. And sportsbooks have increasingly provided unique bets for ideas, such as where star quarterback Deshaun Watson would ultimately settle.
“Colorado’s books are offering bets that are simply not available in other states,” Welman said. “There are myriad reasons why, but one of them is that table tennis has been so lucrative that state regulators and sportsbooks themselves have been inspired to take chances on more unconventional offerings.”