Handle Down Revenue Up For Colorado Sports Betting Scene in June

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Fans show their support as the Denver Nuggets play. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/AFP

The seasonal summer sports betting slowdown claimed another June victim with news out Tuesday from Colorado saying their month-to-month handle declined to an eight-month low. While the summer months alone contributed to the dip in betting activity in the state, the early exits of the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche from the perspective playoffs didn’t help matters much.

While disappointing, the overall numbers posted by the Colorado Division of Gaming isn’t all doom-and-gloom. Following the head-scratching pattern within the broader US legal sports betting scene, Colorado sportsbooks saw a huge spike in revenues on the heels of their handle declines.

According to Ian St. Clair, analyst with the PlayColorado: “Overall, Colorado continues to weather the summer months relatively well. June’s revenue boost was not only good news for sportsbooks, but for the state. That is important when the tax receipts from sports betting have been somewhat disappointing overall.”

Breaking Down the Figures

Colorado bettors spent a total of $229.8 million at the state’s sportsbooks in June, which represents a 7.7% decline from the $248.97 million that books took in during another down-month, May. June’s totals were the lowest since the state’s sportsbooks reported a $210.7 million handle back in October and were the second time in the last three months that sports betting activity in the Centennial State has experienced a month-to-month decline.

There is no real tangible, marquee sporting event the next couple of months, outside of the Olympics which are not expected to produce huge betting numbers, that would seem to change Colorado’s legal sports betting fortunes around. It looks like sportsbooks will have to wait until September and the start of the NFL season before a reasonable bounce back will come to fruition.

About That Revenue Spike

There has been a trend of falling handles in the US legal sports betting scene that have been accompanied by healthy revenue spikes. Colorado is no different. According to PlayUSA Network, this is largely due to sportsbooks winning a lot of futures bets and bettors losing a lot during the summer months.

Despite a drop in overall betting activity in June, sportsbook gross gaming revenues spiked an eye-opening 30.4%, from $15.1 million in May to $19.7 million in June.

Thanks to that spike, tax contributions amounted to $1.2 million in June, up a staggering 86.7% from the $635,641 in May.

Drivers of the Handle

Colorado’s mobile sports betting handle dipped about the same amount as the handle but was still responsible for the overwhelming bulk of the overall June handle. Internet-based bets contributed $227.1 million of the $229.8 million, or an incredible 98.8%. That’s down 7.9% from the $246.5 million mobile sportsbooks accounted for in May.

Basketball continued to be the biggest sports contributor to Colorado’s June handle, with over $74 million in bets. Baseball came in second with over $54 million wagered and soccer, possibly because of the sensational Euro 2020 tournament, rounded out the top-three with a little over $12 million in wagers.

At the End of the Day

Colorado isn’t unique in its summer sports betting slowdown. It too shall pass, especially with football just over two months away. In the meantime, the Olympics and a few other “biggish” sports betting events on the summer calendar will have to do. The addition of Bally Bet to the betting scene at the end of May could also create a customer acquisition feeding frenzy.

“Tennis and golf don’t generate the same kind of interest as major team sports, obviously, but the higher win percentages help sportsbooks offset the offseason dip in betting volume,” said Jessica Welman, an analyst with the PlayUSA Network. “With the Olympics here, and major golf and tennis tournaments dotting the July calendar, Colorado’s sportsbooks will get a bit of a boost even if bettors engage less.”