Colorado sports betting market sees nearly $15 billion in wagers since 2020 legalization

Coloradans have wagered nearly $15 billion since sports betting was first legalized in May 2020, according to latest state figures. Since the initial partial year of sports betting in 2020, where the state reported $64 million in proceeds, residents have accelerated their betting to over $5 billion in 2023. 

In a report detailing proceeds from May 2020 through April 2023, the state also reported that players have won a total of $11.28 billion. At the time, Colorado reported total wagers for that period amounted to $12.1 billion. 

The report also showed that the biggest game Coloradans bet on was basketball, which contributed to 24.7% of all bets. Football stood second at 15.9%, followed by baseball with 10.1% of all bets placed between May 2020 and April 2023.

Experts believe this is only the beginning, with no signs of this trend slowing down. “It’s only just getting started. The sports betting industry has nowhere to go but up,” said Darrin Duber-Smith, a sports marketing and consumer behavior expert, as well as a professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver, as reported by FOX31 KDVR.

Smith, who has been watching the industry since sportsbooks and apps went live in the state and also indulges in betting, said: “I do it because frankly, I find the games boring for the most part. If I’m not really rooting for a team, I’m probably not going to watch a game on television unless I’ve placed a bet on it.”

This seems to be a frequent scenario. NFL television ratings have increased each year since 2018, when the US Supreme Court allowed sports betting nationally. According to the report, more Americans tuned in the past year than in any past season since 1995 for an average of 18 million viewers each game.

Monarch Casino, Resort and Spa, Black Hawk

The increased popularity of sports betting has worked in favor of Colorado’s live sportsbooks at casinos in areas like Black Hawk and Cripple Creek. Steve Zlobin, Director of Gaming at Monarch Casino, Resort and Spa, told the mentioned publication that he has seen an increased number of casual gamers playing.

As more and more casual gamblers come into the fold, as more people come to check out our property, check out our sports book and place a wager on games and get the excitement and fun that comes with it, we’re expecting the industry to grow and do better,” he said.

Zlobin said this might be part of why Colorado’s sports teams have so many viewers.
“The industry is doing really well,” Zlobin said. “We’ve seen a lot of growth in the last year.”

Winning percentages have fallen for players, according to data provided by the Colorado Department of Revenue. In December 2020, the state reported a 14.42% win rate for retail betting (or in-person sports betting) and 5.9% for online betting. The latest report provided by the state in November 2023 reported that the win percentages had dropped to 6.64% for retail and 4.68% for online.

In December, Colorado’s Division of Gaming also reported that it had record-breaking monthly figures for November 2023, with the agency reporting a total handle of $608.49 million, a 10% increase from November 2022.