Colorado Sports Betting Handle Rebounds in Big Way With March Madness

Written By Ken Pomponio on 04/27/2022
Colorado March 2022 Revenue report

Colorado’s sports betting handle rebounded in a major way in March.

Credit, of course, the NBA and March Madness.

The Centennial State’s total March handle from retail and online sportsbooks was $505.6 million, according to data released Wednesday by the Colorado Department of Revenue. That was a 14.8 percent increase over February’s handle of $440.5 million, and more notably, a full 68 percent increase from the March 2021 handle of $301 million.

It was the largest Colorado monthly figure in a non-football month, surpassing the March 2021 total.

The $505.6 million handle also goes down as the second-highest Colorado total for any month. It’s topped only by the record $573.7 million handle in January 2022. 

Overall, it was the state’s second $500 million-plus handle month since sports betting went live in Colorado in May 2020.

As tracked here at PlayColorado.com, here are Colorado’s top five months in terms of total sportsbook handle:

  • January 2022: $573.7 million
  • March 2022: $505.6 million
  • October 2021: $491.5 million
  • November 2021: $475.4 million
  • December 2021: $461.4 million

Fiscal year, tax numbers way up

Colorado’s fiscal year total wagers for the current July 2021-March 2022 period are $3.8 billionan 86 percent increase from the total handle from same period in 2020-21.

Taxes collected by the state in March 2022 from sports wagering totaled $1.3 million.

That figure represents a whopping 317.2 percent increase from February.

Fiscal year taxes to date through March are $9.3 million — up 78.3 percent from the FYTD taxes for the same period in 2020-21 ($5.2 million).

Hoops reigns supreme

While college basketball generated $96.9 million in Colorado March bets, it was still no match for its professional counterpart.

The NBA remained the Centennial State’s biggest wagering draw with a $218.4 million total handle in March. That was more than double the $106.9 million total from March 2021.

Pro basketball betting has led the way in Colorado in all three months so far this year.

The college hoops handle also saw a significant jump from the previous year, climbing a healthy 36.5 percent from March 2021. That 2021 March Madness handle was $71.0 million.

In all, basketball bets accounted for 62.4 percent of the March sportsbook handle in Colorado.

Ice hockey was a distant third in March, generating an in-state handle of a little more than $26 million.

A list of the top 10 sports in terms of Colorado March handle are as follows:

Wagers by sportTotal HandleOnline HandleRetail HandleRevenue (GGR)
Pro Basketball$218,351,428$216,469,474$1,881,954$5,761,348
NCAA Basketball$96,923,730$94,688,082$2,235,648$4,724,041
Hockey$26,036,773$25,863,235$173,538$1,656,538
Tennis$23,434,520$23,374,431$60,089$1,799,087
Soccer$18,013,443$17,964,173$49,270$1,401,191
Golf$5,378,010$5,351,279$26,730$830,231
MMA$3,423,168$3,370,177$52,991$771,709
Table Tennis$1,339,773$1,329,825$9,948$88,619
Motorsports$887,765$884,544$3,221$108,693
Baseball$537,366$511,390$25,975$303,405
Other$11,567,143$11,504,836$62,307$918,484
Parlay$99,717,961$98,891,613$826,348$9,874,848
Total$505,611,080$500,203,059$5,408,021$28,238,194

Table tennis tails off

Of course, a Colorado monthly sports betting revenue report isn’t complete without a table tennis update.

Somewhat surprisingly, though, Centennial State bettors’ favorite niche sport saw it’s handle hit an all-time Colorado low.

The sport generated only $1.3 million in March wagers. That’s down markedly — 82.2 percent to be exact — from February’s $7.3 million handle.

Much of that decrease can be pinned on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. That led to the March 4 removal of Russian and Belarusian events from Colorado’s sports betting catalog.

On deck: Sports betting’s offseason 

The NBA playoffs are heating up. 

And the Stanley Cup playoffs get rolling next week with the Colorado Avalanche favored to hoist the Cup.

However, March is typically the year’s last relative big sports wagering month until the pro and college football seasons kick off in late summer.

In 2021, the Colorado sportsbook handle dipped from the $301 million in March to $244.4 million in April. And it didn’t climb back above $250 million until September at $408.3 million.

Eric Ramsey, an analyst for the PlayUSA.com network, which includes PlayColorado, knows the landscape.

“The (Colorado) Rockies getting off to a good start and the (Denver) Nuggets playing through most of April will help blunt the inevitable seasonal slowdown. But there isn’t much sportsbooks can do to avoid the seasonality of sports betting,” Ramsey said. “Still, the industry made a huge leap over the last seven months, and operators can look forward to a fall that should bring even bigger numbers.”

Photo by AP / Sean Rayford
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Ken Pomponio

Ken is a fourth-generation Coloradan and career sports journalist with more than 30 years covering the gamut from the preps to the pros. A lifelong Front Range resident and son of 1960s Denver Broncos season-ticket holders, he is a long-time sports betting enthusiast whose insight and passion shine through in his coverage at PlayColorado.

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