Start Of NFL Season Brings Record Month Of Sports Betting In Colorado

Written By Ian St. Clair on 10/29/2021
NFL brings record September for CO sports betting

Colorado is the latest evidence that the NFL drives sports betting.

For the month of September, the start of the NFL regular season catapulted the state to a record month in handle. Colorado brought in $408.3 million in bets for September. That is a 92.7% increase over the $212 million in handle for August. The September number is by far the biggest in the state’s sports betting revenue history. The previous high came from this January at $326 million.

The September handle pushes Colorado sports betting closer to $3 billion for the year. In 2021, the state has now collected well over $2 billion in bets.

Colorado sports betting by the numbers in September

As the numbers released by the Colorado Division of Gaming on Friday show, on top of the record month for handle, the gross gaming revenue also shot up. After bringing in $15.2 million in GGR in August, that number was an astounding $22.7 million in September.

The same didn’t hold true for net sports betting proceeds, however. For the month, that number was $1.8 million, a steep decline from the $7.1 million in August. The reason for the drop is almost $20 million in free bets handed out in September (more on that a little later).

And the number that is the focus for Coloradans is the amount in state taxes. After an OK number in August of $726,365, September brought in a little less at $483,047. Given the ongoing water issues in the West, and the 10% of taxes going to Colorado Water Preservation, that’s why there is so much emphasis on the amount the state gets each month.

To the surprise of no one, online betting is the avenue people use the most to place their wagers. In September, that number was an astronomical $402.8 million, or 98% of all bets, placed in Colorado. While retail sportsbooks could eventually increase, it was still just $5.6 million or 2% of all bets.

In terms of lifetime numbers, September pushes the total handle in Colorado to well over $3 billion since the launch in May 2020.

Back to the free bets, the fascinating number that PlayColorado will focus on more in the coming weeks. Given there are 26 sports betting apps live in the state, they’re all still trying to get people to signup and download their app. The best way to do that is with free bets.

After the $19.8 million in September, the lifetime total of free bets in Colorado is now $129.3 million.

What will be fascinating to watch is how much that figure continues to rise, or decline, in the months ahead as the market matures.

Top sports wagered on in September

As noted at the top, NFL betting was by far the driver in the month. For the first month of the regular season, the NFL brought in $125.8 million in bets. The 3-0 start for the Denver Broncos certainly didn’t hurt that number, but now that the team has regressed and is in the midst of a four-game losing streak, whether that impacts interest will be incredibly fascinating.

The No. 2 spot for the month came from MLB betting. No, the Colorado Rockies didn’t play any meaningful games in the month, but there were some fun postseason chases down the stretch that sparked some betting interest. Baseball accumulated $68.7 million in bets.

The surprise in the top 5 is tennis betting, the grown-up version of table tennis. In September, tennis got $16.3 million in bets thanks to the US Open. That major tournament in New York started on Aug. 30 and finished on Sept. 12.

And since you can’t go a month without mentioning table tennis betting, the niche sport was once again in the top 10, coming in at No. 7 in September with $11 million.

Top 5 bet on sports in Colorado

  1. NFL $125.75 million
  2. Baseball $68.7 million
  3. NCAA football $46.94 million
  4. Basketball $16.34 million
  5. Tennis $16.33 million
Wagers by sportTotal HandleOnline HandleRetail HandleRevenue (GGR)
Pro Football$125,751,426$123,415,568$2,335,858$4,520,301
Baseball$68,704,842$67,598,667$1,106,175$2,976,669
NCAA Football$46,940,205$46,160,573$779,632$1,626,016
Pro Basketball$16,346,917$16,200,056$146,861$364,270
Tennis$16,332,349$16,071,316$261,033$1,106,678
Soccer$13,048,406$12,908,710$139,696$1,115,723
Table Tennis$11,062,241$11,056,668$5,573$721,918
Golf$2,634,835$2,628,440$6,395-$70,656
MMA$1,959,329$1,922,507$36,822$272,920
Hockey$974,480$964,749$9,731$40,911
Other$42,040,339$41,747,818$292,521-$1,218,148
Parlay$62,519,257$62,082,681$436,576$11,202,026
Total$408,314,626$402,757,753$5,556,873$22,658,628
Photo by AP / Jack Dempsey
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Ian St. Clair

Ian St. Clair is an award-winning sports journalist. He is a University of Northern Colorado graduate, Colorado native and has over a decade of experience covering college and professional athletics. Ian does a weekly Broncos segment each Saturday on Klahr and Kompany on Denver radio station ESPN 1600 AM.

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