Colorado Latest State to Report Mixed Mag Sports Betting May

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Skyline of the Denver downtown as seen from the stadium as the Milwaukee Brewers face the Colorado Rockies. Doug Pensinger/Getty Images/AFP

It has become a bit of a theme within the US legal sports betting industry that those states posting a May handle increase can expect a revenue decline and vice versa. The latest example is Colorado, which on Friday released their May sports betting numbers and identified a month-to-month handle increase along with a revenue dip.

Smack in the middle of what is supposed to be an industry-wide slowdown for sports betting entities, Colorado is one of the lucky states that enjoyed a slight uptick in overall sports betting activity. Their handle increase unfortunately was accompanied by a significant revenue dip. Colorado joins New Jersey, Indiana, Mississippi and Washington DC as jurisdictions that saw increased handles and revenue dips. Michigan and Pennsylvania are examples that on the other hand posted handle slides and revenue increases for the month of May.

Deeper Dive

Colorado’s May sports betting figures helped it maintain its status in the second tier of legal sports betting states. Their sportsbooks took in $248.97 million in bets in May, which represents a slight but optimistic 1.8% increase from the $244.45 million that was wagered on sports in April.

Unfortunately, like so many jurisdictions that have already reported out their May sports betting figures, an increased handle didn’t translate to better revenues. Gross gaming revenues for Colorado in May came in at $15.15 million, down a troubling 13.7% from April’s $17,563,939.

With a decrease in revenues came a dip in the amount of tax dollars collected by state and local coffers in Colorado. Tax dollars collected in May were just $635,641, a steep 41.3% decline from the $1,082,611 in taxes collected in April.

The Drivers

You can’t talk about the Colorado legal sports betting scene without mentioning the incredible success of its mobile platform. Once again, May’s overall handle was completely dominated by the mobile apps operating within the state. About 99% of all bets taken in, or $246.49 million of the $248.97 million total handle came from betting apps in May with retail barely registering as a factor.

Mobile betting, like the overall handle increased 1.9% month-to-month.

Basketball continued to lead the way as far as sports that were bet on in Colorado during May. Basketball accounted for $86,905,263 of the overall handle, baseball was responsible for $49,058,252, hockey $15,496,450, table tennis $10,253,385 and soccer $9,854,188. “Other” sports generated $16,750,931 and parlays were responsible for $43,662,693.

Notable is table tennis that continued to prop up the legal sports betting scene in Centennial State. Nowhere else in the country is table tennis a factor but in Colorado, it has bailed the state’s legal sports betting scene out during some pretty lean times.

Down the Road

Like all jurisdictions within the broader US legal sports betting scene, Colorado sportsbooks will be eagerly waiting on September and the start of the NFL season before major betting activity increases are expected. The state will likely just be treading water until that time.

May was certainly aided by the playoff runs of both the Colorado Avalanche and Denver Nuggets. June won’t be so lucky.

So, while the May handle increase was nice, there isn’t an expected trend of climbing handles in the state throughout the typically slow summer sports betting months. There is faint hope that Euro 2020 may help the June sports betting numbers and that Olympics betting will give the Colorado industry a boost later this summer, but NFL season is what sportsbooks are hanging their hats on in Colorado.