Colorado Reports $25.6M in Sports Betting Handle From May

Colorado Reports $25.6M in Sports Betting Handle From May
© USA Today

The betting market at top Colorado sportsbooks got off to a roaring start in May and it’s only going to get stronger as more online sportsbooks go live in the state and major sports return.

The Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission reported $25.6 million in total sports handle for the month after launching on May 1. That was all online; there were no retail sportsbooks open in May because of coronavirus-related closures.

The exact figure for Colorado sports betting in May was $25,621,761, according to a news release on Monday from the Colorado Department of Revenue. The top sport by far in May wagering was table tennis, with $6,589,475 handle. Next came mixed martial arts ($1,742,608), baseball ($1,656,613), soccer ($1,529,844) and golf $1,423,684. Betting on “other,” or sports not categorized, reached $7,940,425 for the month.

Payouts to players added up to $23,056,033. The month generated $946,741 in revenue and $96,538 in taxes, according to numbers released by the Colorado Department of Revenue.

When the market launched, four online sportsbooks went live and the betting options were limited — just international table tennis and eSports were available — because all major sports shut down in mid-March.

The number of online sportsbooks has more than doubled since the May 1 launch. Retail sportsbooks have been reopening but that will not be reflected until June figures are released.

More Sportsbooks, More Sports & Open Casinos

More online sportsbooks are up and running. And sports have returned — the UFC and NASCAR started having regular events in May, the PGA Tour came back in June and MLB, the NHL and NBA are holding training camps for their eventual restart to their seasons.

Colorado boasts two of the top teams in the NBA (Nuggets) and NHL (Avalanche), while the Rockies will be an attractive choice for Denver bettors when baseball starts its 60-game season.

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Casinos in the state had been closed since mid-March, but those in Cripple Creek reopened June 15 after receiving approval from state health officials. Among the new guidelines: Only slot machines were available at first and temperatures of customers were checked. They must also wear masks.

Black Hawk and Central City casinos opened two days later under similar health and social-distancing guidelines. Saratoga Casino Black Hawk accepted the first retail sports bet on June 17 at its sportsbook, which is operated by Betfred USA.

Monarch Casino Blackhawk joined Saratoga Casino Black Hawk as retail sportsbooks operational in the state, according to the gaming control commission's website.

DraftKings opened a temporary retail sportsbook in Colorado at the Mardi Gras Casino in Black Hawk on July 10. The temporary sportsbook will be on the first floor of the casino, which is owned by Twin River Holdings.

Betsson, a gaming company headquartered in Stockholm, announced on June 29 that it has entered into a 10-year agreement with Dostal Alley Casino, a Central City Black Hawk casino, to offer sports betting. It will be Betsson's first entry into the growing U.S. sports betting market.

Number of Sportsbooks Going Live Grows

On May 1, BetMGM, BetRivers, DraftKings and FanDuel were the first four online sportsbooks to launch their apps. They have since been joined by BetMonarch (Monarch Casino Resorts), FOX Bet, SBK, Circa Sports and BetWild as state-licensed sites.

Circa has a partnership with Century Casinos, a gaming company in Colorado Springs that operates casinos in Cripple Creek and Century City, along with others in North America. Circa does not plan to open retail sportsbooks at the Colorado casinos, The Colorado Springs Gazette reported. Amelco, a UK gaming company, helped launch BetWildwood, the first online sportsbook to launch under Wildwood Casino in Cripple Creek’s online betting license, according to published reports.

On May 11, the Carousel Group announced that it had received approval from the gaming control board and will soon launch in Colorado, according to a news release. The gaming company is partnering with Johnny Nolon’s Casino in Cripple Creek.

Carousel Group said in the news release that it is in the process of expanding into other states. The company will be expanding its U.S. footprint and opening offices in New Jersey and Colorado later this year.

The SBK launch in early June was a milestone for Smarkets, a United Kingdom-based betting exchange that developed the app. It was the U.S. debut for its platform after partnering with casino operator Full House Resorts last year, according to a news release.

Another milestone was reached in the state when the Sky Ute Casino Resort launched the Sky Ute SportsBook, a mobile sports betting app, in early June. Though not licensed by the state, it is believed to be the first Native American sportsbook.