Colorado Tax On Sports Betting Breaks $3M For First Time In March

Written By Hill Kerby on 05/02/2023 - Last Updated on May 9, 2023
Colorado sports betting march

March was a record-setting month for Colorado sportsbooks, producing an all-time high of $35.4 million in net sports betting proceeds. In doing so, monthly tax contributions surpassed $3 million for the first time since Colorado sports betting became legal in May 2020.

Sports betting taxes in March totaled $3,103,024. This number comes from a 10% tax on net sports betting proceeds, which is calculated by overall handle minus payments, free bets, and a 0.25% federal excise tax on handle.

March betting was down slightly compared to March 2022

March brought a predictable increase from February in Colorado sports betting handle. Bettors wagered $494.4 million, up 16.3% from $425.1 million in February. However, the total fell short of $500 million, resulting in a year-over-year decline of 2.2% from March 2022’s $505.6 million.

Whatever sportsbooks missed in betting action, they made up for with a strong 9.3% hold after returning $448.5 million in payments. This produced $45.9 million in Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR), the second highest in state history and a 103% increase from February’s $22.6 million.

Only September 2022 produced a higher GGR ($51.3 million), but its net sports betting proceeds (NSBP) and tax contributions did not match March’s. Six months have created NBSP totals above $20 million and contributed over $2 million in taxes.

MonthHandleGGRHold %NBSPTax
March 2023$494.4 million$45.9 million9.3%$35.4 million$3.1 million
September 2022$450.2 million$51.3 million11.4%$31.7 million$2.99 million
January 2023$547,189,025$35,482,5626.5%$22.5 million$2.586 million
December 2022$518,088,768$40,909,2387.9%$25.8 million$2.584 million
November 2022$552,603,013$37,569,0226.8%$24.4 million$2.582 million
October 2022$526.6 million$36.5 million6.9%$21.1 million$2.3 million

Year-over-year NSBP grew by 271.5% from $13 million in February 2022, bringing fiscal year-to-date NSBP to $209 million (+273.2% YoY). Fiscal YTD taxes are $20.3 million (+225.2% YoY), with three months until the fiscal year’s close.

Parlays notch sportsbooks’ biggest W

Professional basketball accounted for the highest handle percentage, receiving $193 million in wagers. NCAA basketball was second, with $94.3 million. Their holds were 7% and 4.6%, respectively.

Colorado does not differentiate between sports on parlays, instead allotting a separate category for that type of wager.

Parlays accounted for another $90 million in wagers and returned just $75.5 million, resulting in an astounding 16.4% hold. Despite less than half the handle, this also led to more profit ($14.8 million) than professional hoops ($13.5 million).

Ice hockey ($25.3 million) and tennis ($25.1 million) were the only other sports with handles above $20 million outside these three categories. Soccer fell just short at $19.4 million.

Entering the dead zone

Historically, March marks the end of the high season for betting. Football and college basketball are behind us, leaving the NBA and NHL playoffs to carry the torch.

Come summertime, basketball and hockey will end, too. Only baseball, tennis, and golf will remain until football season begins in September and numbers ramp up.

Until then, the next five months should see 30-to-50% drops in handle from all-time highs. That’s no time for panic, though, as sports betting is seasonal by nature.

Colorado sports bettors have punched above their weight class relative to population over the last three years, establishing themselves as a top-10 market in the US. Hope lies ahead for Broncos Country, too, with offensive mastermind Sean Payton now at the helm.

If Payton can right the ship offensively and the Broncos can compete for the playoffs, this fall will bring new records for handle, revenue, and tax contributions.

Photo by Shutterstock
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Hill Kerby

Hill Kerby is a proponent of safe, legal betting, and is grateful to be able to contribute to growing the industry. He has a background in poker, sports, and psychology, all of which he incorporates into his writing.

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