Avalanche, Nuggets Playoff Bids Help May Sports Betting Jump To Nearly $250 Million

Written By Ian St. Clair on 06/25/2021
Colorado sports betting May revenue

When it comes to the wide world of sports, there is nothing like the playoffs.

The excitement and stress over every play is quite the experience.

At least in Colorado, that excitement over the postseason is also a driver for sports betting.

Playoff runs for Avalanche, Nuggets drive Colorado sports betting

As the May numbers show, the Colorado sports betting market got a nice boost from the respective playoff runs for the Colorado Avalanche and Denver Nuggets (even though one of them was shorter than just about everyone expected. Not that there’s any bitterness). According to numbers released by the Colorado Division of Gaming on Friday, the state brought in $249 million for May.

The other factor to keep in mind with the Avalanche and Nuggets in the postseason, is fans could actually watch the teams on TV. The dispute between Kroenke Sports Entertainment and Comcast/DISH is still ongoing. But fans could at least watch, and live bet. How much of an impact that had on the numbers is pure speculation, however, it certainly didn’t hurt. After all, Comcast is the most popular provider in the state.

Given the industry is in the typical “slow period” without the NFL and college football, how the different markets respond to this time has been all over the map.

Of the Top 10 U.S. markets that have reported May data, Colorado’s month-over-month increase in wagering was smaller than New Jersey (up 8.9%) and Indiana (up 7.6%), but larger than Iowa (down 2.9%), Michigan (down 4.9%), and Pennsylvania (down 6.7%). Colorado’s handle did drop 18.8% in April, but all of the nation’s 10 largest markets saw at least a 13% decline in betting from March to April.

In the month of May, sportsbooks in Colorado generated $15.2 million in gross gaming revenue. That’s a slight decrease from the $17.6 million in April.

The net betting proceeds produced $5.9 million million in May. That’s a big drop from the $10.5 million in April.

The state also collected just $635,641 state taxes for the month, another dip from the $1.1 million in April.

And as has been the case since the launch of sports betting here, online is where people place their wagers. In May, $246.5 million of the total handle came from online wagers. Only $2.5 million came from retail sportsbooks.

Top sports wagered on

As for the most popular sports, Colorado NBA betting was the clear No. 1, and it wasn’t even close. This is the fifth-straight month the NBA was the most wagered on sport in Colorado. The NBA brought in $86.9 million for May.

Despite the fact the Colorado Rockies are a team sportsbooks say they can’t get bettors to touch with a 10-foot pole, baseball was still No. 2 for the second-straight month. MLB betting in Colorado got $49 million for the month.

NHL betting in Colorado was able to take the No. 3 spot with $15.4 million. Again, how much of this was because fans could actually watch the Avs and Nuggets on TV? The NBA and NHL were the top sports, so at least somewhat.

And if it wasn’t clear by now, table tennis betting betting in Colorado is here to stay. It was again in the top five, bringing in $10.3 million in wagers.

Top 5 betting sports

  1. NBA $86.9 million
  2. Baseball $49 million
  3. Hockey $15.4 million
  4. Table tennis $10.3 million
  5. Soccer $9.8 million
Wagers by sportTotal HandleOnline HandleRetail HandleRevenue (GGR)
Pro Basketball$86,905,263$85,827,786$1,077,477$5,375,653
Table Tennis$10,253,385$10,239,727$13,658$765,237
Photo by AP / Jack Dempsey
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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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