Colorado Per Capita Sports Betting Among Highest In US

Written By T.J. McBride on 04/21/2023 - Last Updated on April 24, 2023
Colorado ranks 3rd in sports betting per capita over the last year

Colorado ranks third in sports betting per person. That probably comes as a surprise. But it’s true when looking at per capita sports wagering over the last 12 months. Sports bettors in The Centennial State wager $883 on average each year.

It’s difficult to explain why Colorado ranks so high, but it’s probably because Coloradans are obsessed with sports. All the professional sports teams in the state enjoy loyal fan bases, and the few Division 1 college sports teams in the state are beloved.

Having legal sports betting in the state since May 2020 certainly contributes to Colorado’s high ranking.

More than $95B was bet on sports across the US last year

Unlike several other US states, Colorado online sports betting began at the same time retail betting became legal. Online wagering far outdistances retail betting in the state. For example, 99% of Colorado sports bets in January were made online.

Despite sports betting still being illegal in 15 states, nearly $100 billion was wagered on sports over the last 12 months in the US. That’s a staggering figure. And it’s only going to rise, as more states come online and more people become comfortable with betting on sports.

In the last 12 months, bettors in the US have wagered $95.7 billion on sports. That means if every adult in America wagered on sports over the last year, each would have bet $346 on average. What’s even more absurd is that doesn’t include lottery or casino gambling.

Additionally, it does not include sports-obsessed states like Texas, Florida or Washington. Also, sports betting is expected to grow as esports grows, not to mention betting could come soon to scripted events like the Academy Awards and WWE.

New York and New Jersey lead pack in total sports handle

The top five states with the highest overall sports wagering handles include New York (nearly $16.5 million), New Jersey (just over $10.5 billion), Illinois (just under $10 billion), Nevada ($8.5 billion) and Pennsylvania ($7.2 billion). Those five states wagered $52.6 billion. That’s more than half of the total amount wagered on sports in the last 12 months.

Population density is another story. When considering betting per capita over the last year, the list looks a bit different.

  1. Nevada, $2,686 (per person average)
  2. New Jersey, $1,138
  3. Colorado, $883
  4. New York, $830
  5. Arizona, $820

Nevada and New Jersey leading this list is no surprise, as each house the betting capitals in the US in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, respectively. Colorado in third place is surprising.

Colorado fans love their sports teams

Colorado’s feverish sports environment probably explains the high ranking. The state has a deep affection for the Denver Broncos. And, really, for football as a whole. Additionally, the state has a team in every major sport despite its low population compared to other states.

With the NFL, it’s the Broncos. In the NBA, it’s the Denver Nuggets, a team that finished the regular season atop the Western Conference for the first time in the franchise’s existence. The Colorado Avalanche were the Stanley Cup Champions last year and are poised for another long run in the playoffs this season.

And despite a long run of ending seasons with a losing record, the MLB’s Colorado Rockies are still popular throughout the state. Once you add in soccer, lacrosse and other sports, Colorado is considered a sports-crazed state.

And with Primetime Deion Sanders now at the helm of the University of Colorado Buffaloes, betting in the state should continue to be brisk for years to come.

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T.J. McBride

T.J. McBride is a Denver-based writer and reporter with an extensive background in covering the NBA and Denver Nuggets. T.J. is Southern California native who provides news and analysis on the legal gambling industry across a number of Catena Media's regional US sites.

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