Colorado Bookmakers Rebound in July After Disastrous June

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Alan Trejo #13 and Charlie Blackmon #19 of the Colorado Rockies celebrate their win against the San Francisco Giants in Game Two of a doubleheader on September 16, 2023. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/AFP.

Colorado sports betting operators were busy paying its customers after the hometown Nuggets won the NBA championship in June, but July was a welcome relief as things returned to normal and the house wound up winning millions as it usually does.

Rocky Mountain Rebound

Most recreational bettors wear their hearts on their sleeves so it wasn’t surprising that Colorado bettors sent it in on the Denver Nuggets to win the NBA title.

And when the dust settled, the Nuggets defeated the Miami Heat in five games and the Colorado bookies took it on the chin as the sports betting sites took in $241 million in single-event bets in June and wound up losing $160,000, equating to a -0.1% win rate.

The losses on other sports mitigated the damage that the basketball betting did as there were $57.9 million in hoops bets in June and bettors won a whopping $10.8 million. Yet, overall the sportsbooks had a win rate of 2.9% generating gross revenues of $9.2 million in June which was the lowest month of the year for gross gaming revenue.

However, in July things returned to normal for the Centennial State bookmakers as the Colorado Department of Revenue reported a handle of $281.1 while gross revenue jumped to a $24.9 million handle on an 8.8% hold. The taxman collected over $1.7 million of that July haul and the handle increased 8.7% over July 2022.

We should also note that Colorado surpassed the $13 billion handle mark in July after 39 months in the bookmaking business.

Below is the gross gaming revenue (GGR) month by month in 2023:

  • January: $35.5 million
  • February: $22.6 million
  • March: $46 million
  • April: $35.1 million
  • May: $31.4 million
  • June: $9.2 million
  • July: $25 million

Bets by Sports in July

Baseball saw the most betting revenue as it is currently the only major North American team sport in action with the Colorado Rockies being the state’s lone local entry. Baseball wagers comprised 37.3% of the collective single sport bets in Colorado in July followed by offseason basketball garnering 12.3% of the action, while every other sport was under 10% of the total handle.

Below is a breakdown of the individual sports betting handle per sport in Colorado in July:

  • Baseball: $104.8 million
  • Parlay/combination bets: $44.8 million
  • Basketball: $34.5 million
  • Tennis: $33.9 million
  • Table Tennis: $12.2 million
  • Golf: $7.6 million
  • MMA: $5.7 million
  • American football: $1.8 million
  • Boxing: $1 million
  • Motorsports: $827,000

Tax Revenue Doubled

In the 2021-2022 fiscal year, Colorado’s tax coffers grew to the tune of $12.4 million derived from sports betting gross gaming revenue according to the Colorado Department of Revenue.

However, that number paled in comparison to the most recent fiscal year which ran from July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023. The state’s sports betting tax revenue soared to $25.6 million, more than double the money Colorado earned the previous fiscal year.

The majority of that tax money is earmarked for the Colorado Water Plan which focuses on projects that will prepare Colorado’s growing population for a warmer and drier climate. The Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights allows the state to collect up to $29 million per annum on sports betting taxes before the legislature must either refund the excess funds or ask voters to permit the state to surpass the cap and keep the revenue.