Colorado Bettors More Than Held Own Against Online Sportsbooks in 2021

Written By Ken Pomponio on 02/23/2022
Colorado online sportsbook 2021 hold percentage

Certainly not everyone came away a winner.

But Colorado online sports bettors definitely held their own in 2021.

The national numbers say as much.

Earlier this month, PlayColorado took a detailed look at Colorado’s impressive 2021 sports betting figures. It was a year which generated $250 million in revenue and nearly $4 billion in total wagers, placing Colorado sixth nationally in terms of annual state betting volume.

Of that $3.85 billion in total sportsbook wagers, $3.79 billion came via online transactions. That 98.4 online percentage was the highest rate in the U.S.

Colorado online bettors also ranked among the national leaders in winning percentage. 

While the national online sportsbook hold percentage was 7.2 percent, Colorado checked in at 6.6 percent.

That figure was the fourth lowest nationally, trailing only Nevada (3.7 percent), Iowa (4.9) and New Hampshire (6.4).

So what exactly is a ‘hold percentage’

Put simply, the hold is a sportsbook or casino’s winning share of the total handle.

And the handle, of course, is the amount of total dollars wagered.

So to calculate the hold percentage, take the total revenue and divide it by the total handle.

In Colorado’s case in 2021, there was a total online sportsbook handle of $3,785,680,256. The total online sportsbook revenue, meanwhile, was $249,020,325. 

That computes to a 6.6 hold percentage — one of only four states to fall below the aforementioned national average of 7.2.

2021 online sports betting by state

Here’s a 2021 breakdown of the total handle, revenue and hold for online sports betting in each of the 17 states and the District of Columbia:

StateHandleRevenueHold Percentage
New Hampshire$545,111,030$35,019,1716.4%
West Virginia$411,407,252$29,921,1107.3%
New Jersey$9,949143,033$740,274,3137.4%
Rhode Island$241,076,790$20,2779368.4%
District of Columbia$45,674,933$7,629,77216.7%

Colorado bettors among nation’s winningest

It’s all there in the above rows and columns. 

And the numbers are rather revealing.

Colorado had the fifth highest online sportsbook handle among the 17 states (and Washington D.C.) which had legalized online sports wagering in 2021.

But Centennial State online sportsbooks only generated the seventh highest revenue total.

And again that’s due to the relatively low 6.6 hold percentage. 

It’s a figure that ranks above only Nevada among the nine states which had at least a $2 billion online sportsbook handle in 2021.

Bettors in northern neighbor Wyoming definitely didn’t fare as well. 

Online sports betting went live in the Cowboy State last September, and sportsbooks reaped the relative rewards.

Wyoming’s online sportsbooks finished 2021 with a 9.9 hold percentage. 

That was the highest among the 17 states with legalized online sports wagering last year and traied only the District of Columbia’s 16.7-percent mark.

Do Colorado’s pro teams deserve partial credit?

Seasoned sports bettors know they should be going with their heads instead of their hearts.

But it most certainly happens. 

“Homer wagering” on a state or area’s teams is all too common. 

Speaking from personal experience, money won is almost always sweeter when your favorite team is the one cashing in.

And, hey, homer wagers can pay off for bettors in certain locales at certain times. Colorado looks to have been one of those states in 2021:

  • The Colorado Avalanche captured the NHL Presidents’ Trophy last spring after finishing with the league’s best regular-season record. The Avs currently are on pace for a repeat finish with a league-leading 76 points, which means Avs moneyline bettors continue to cash tickets.
  • Meanwhile in the NBA, the Denver Nuggets finished with the league’s fifth-best winning percentage in 2020-21 at .653 (47-25). This season, despite a rash of key injuries, the Nuggets sported the NBA’s 10th-best winning percentage (.569, 33-25) at the All-Star break. And then including those who cashed winning Nikola Jokic MVP tickets last year, it was a profitable Nuggets season.
  • As for the Denver Broncos, they endured a fifth straight losing season in 2021 at 7-10. But the Orange and Blue were a game better against the spread at 8-9, making it far from a disastrous wagering season.
  • Even the 2021 Colorado Rockies proved profitable. The Rockies finished 10th in the 15-team National League with a 74-87 record. But in terms of the 2021 MLB moneyline standings, the Rox actually were the eighth-most profitable MLB squad at a plus-$401. That means a blind, one-unit bet on Colorado in each of its 161 games would’ve netted an end-of-season profit.
Photo by AP / Matt Slocum
Ken Pomponio Avatar
Written by
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.

View all posts by Ken Pomponio