Despite launching in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, sports betting in Colorado enjoyed a relatively successful first month of action.
Over $25 million was wagered by players in May, which is the second-highest-ever first month total for a new US sports betting market.
Revenue was also not far off $1 million, despite there being limited options in terms of sports betting opportunities at the time.
Colorado also held its own against some of the more established US sports betting markets over the course of May.
A reasonable return on Colorado sports betting, considering the circumstances
Earlier this week, PlayColorado revealed a breakdown of May’s sports betting figures for the state. Operators in the Centennial State generated $946,741 between them for said month, which came from $25.6 million in player bets.
So far, only one US market has enjoyed a higher handle for its first month of sports betting than Colorado. That was Indiana, which handled $32.6 million when the market went live in September 2019. However, the clear difference here is that Indiana’s market did not launch in the middle of a pandemic.
Indiana is the US’ fourth-largest sports betting market right now and handled $37.3 million in May. Although Colorado will have to wait a bit to reach those figures, players in the state bet much more than was the case in Oregon ($7.3 million).
PlayColorado Lead Analyst Dustin Gouker believes that Colorado did as well as it could, considering the adverse global situation at the time. His thoughts were as follows.
“Considering the circumstances of its first month, Colorado debuted about as well as any market could. Ultimately, the revenue that was driven while sports were mostly dormant is less important than sportsbooks launching and engaging sports bettors so they’re ready when major sports resume. By that metric, Colorado’s launch was a success.”
A number of big names already in the Colorado sports betting market
Both of the US’ largest sportsbooks FanDuel and DraftKings have obtained licences to operate in the Coloradan sports betting market.
Betsson is another big name to receive approval. The Swedish operator was awarded a permit at the end of next month and plans to launch its US sportsbook early next year. This will be its first venture in North America, having enjoyed success in various European markets.
Gouker believes that much of Colorado’s success is due to operators preparing ahead of time.
“One of the primary reasons why Colorado fared well in its first month is that the top brands were ready to go from the beginning.
“Having FanDuel and DraftKings, in addition to BetMGM and BetRivers, accepting bets on the first day of operation is unprecedented. It shows just how much confidence operators have in the future of the Colorado market.”
What does the future hold for sports betting in Colorado?
$7.9 million was wagered on events classified as ‘other’ in May. There is huge potential for further growth, especially with US sports beginning to resume. For example, the MLS is back underway. Meanwhile, both the NBA and MLB will return to the sporting calendar before the end of this month. And of course, there is also the NFL season to look forward to in September.
There is also the potential for sports betting to generate more revenue from the state going forward. In May, operators brought in $96,538 in this respect.
Moving forward, PlayColorado believes that the state’s sports betting market could generate $6 billion per year in revenue or upwards. Thus, it’s likely that this vertical will contribute a lot more to the state in the coming months and years.