NFL Opening Weekend Could Spark Uptick For Colorado Retail Sportsbooks

Written By Ian St. Clair on 09/10/2021
NFL betting could help CO retail sportsbooks

To play off the famous Beck song, “Online is where it’s at.”

You’re now singing the chorus, so you’re welcome.

In all seriousness, that’s true for society but especially for Colorado sports betting.

When you have 26 sports betting apps to choose from and remote signup capability, that’s not a surprise. Add in COVID-19 to the equation and that’s how you get the revenue numbers in Colorado.

Of the nearly $3 billion in handle, $2.9 billion of that comes from online sports betting. Since the launch of sports betting in May 2020, only $47 million has been wagered at retail sportsbooks. Only.

Now that the first NFL weekend is upon us, look for the Colorado retail sportsbooks to get more action. Way more action.

NFL betting should help Colorado retail sportsbooks get more traction

The American Gambling Association recently released the Americans’ 2021 NFL betting plans. In the report, it noted that 10.5 million Americans will place a bet at a physical casino sportsbook, up 58% from 2020.

Needless to say, the 17 retail sportsbooks in Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek could turn into destination places to watch and partake in NFL betting this fall.

As Jay Korengay, the Westgate Superbook Sports executive vice president of operations, said:

“From Nevada and Colorado to what we’re hearing from around the country, the preseason numbers have been tremendous. And if that’s an indication of what we’re going to see this year, this could be the biggest season ever. As far as our retail outlet at the Lodge, everything’s going over very smoothly, and we’re certainly starting to see an uptick in interest.

“The numbers that we’ve seen over the last couple of months at the retail outlet aren’t going to be comparable to what we see from September to March. This is the beginning of our ‘season.’ This is where we pay the bills. We expect the action to be hot and serious for the next eight months.”

Colorado retail sportsbooks could see massive fall

If fans head to one of the three mountain towns, they have choices. That’s more of the case for Black Hawk (11) than Central City or Cripple Creek.

There’s the Barstool Sportsbook at the Ameristar. You also have Betfred Sportsbook at the Saratoga Casino. Speaking of Betfred, if you head to the retail sportsbook this Sunday, there’s a meet-and-greet with Rod Smith. From 1-3:30 p.m. MT, you can get autographed pictures and have your photo taken with the Denver Broncos Ring of Fame receiver.

Now there’s also the first Las Vegas-style sportsbook in Colorado at the Lodge Casino with the SuperBook.

And that’s just three of the combined 13 choices that bettors have in Black Hawk and Central City.

No wonder Korengay said Colorado is in for a massive fall.

“It’s a fantastic mountain town and you get away for a little bit and enjoy football in that type of environment,” he said. “It’s as close to Las Vegas as you can get. And it’s going to be an experience since last year was COVID. And that’s still part of our world. Despite that, the crowds we’re going to see in Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek, the numbers are going to smash what we produced last year.

Photo by PlayColorado / Ian St. Clair
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Ian St. Clair

Ian is an award-winning sports journalist and a University of Northern Colorado graduate. He’s a Colorado native and has over a decade of experience covering college and professional athletics. He broke into the gambling industry right as Colorado launched legal sports betting in 2020. Ian now manages the sites for some of the biggest gambling markets in North America and is an analyst for PlayColorado.

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