Embrace The Quirk: Colorado Can Become Hotbed For Table Tennis

Written By Ian St. Clair on March 31, 2021

Editor’s Note: The following article represents the views of the author.

After a few months, it was clear Colorado sports betting was different.

Not just because it launched amidst a global pandemic and there were no major sports to bet on. Though that no doubt spurred this table tennis phenomena that is bizarre, fascinating, weird and awesome all at once.

In the initial monthly handle reports from the state, the niche sport started to pop up in the top 10.

“There’s nothing else to bet on, so that makes sense.”

But come late July and early August, the major sports restarted and table tennis was still there.

Fast-forward to the February sports betting handle and the sport most played as a kid was again in the top 10. This time it was No. 6, bringing in $6.8 million in bets. That was more than soccer, golf and MMA. Since the launch of sports betting last May, the sport has brought in $85.1 million in handle.

It’s clear by now that Colorado and table tennis betting are connected.

To put it another way, Colorado can’t quit table tennis.

Table tennis here to stay?

It’s now time to embrace this quirk.

No longer should the state, operators, media or industry experts wonder when this fad will go away.

It’s here to stay like that pungent smell from Greeley.

There’s not much you can do about it, it’s now part of the state’s identity.

So embrace it.

Accept it.

Colorado needs to become the epicenter for table tennis.

The state’s gambling towns, casinos and sportsbook operators need to go all-in.

As Johnny Avello, the DraftKings sportsbook director of operations, said about Colorado and table tennis betting:

“It’s amazing, isn’t it? Table tennis has such high volume because of the point-by-point. So the bettors in Colorado, it’s not just because they’re betting something pre-match. It’s because while the matches are going on, the guys are playing in-game wagering in table tennis, every single point. That’s why the handle is as high as it is.”

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Go all-in

You probably just asked, “What does all-in mean?”

Glad you asked.

One idea is to have casinos partner with table tennis leagues, tournaments or venues in the state.

Heck, perhaps the casinos could host table tennis events.

In fact, the Barstool retail sportsbook at the Ameristar has more than enough space to set up some tables.

Since the state loves to bet table tennis, live bet the sport while you watch it at the actual sportsbook.

This could happen in Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek.

After the economic devastation of the last year due to COVID-19, who knows how long it’ll take to get back to “normal.”

The perfect storm of events from a week ago seem to indicate Coloradans are eager to get back up to casinos, gamble and have some fun.

Embracing table tennis certainly wouldn’t hurt.

You know there’s a market for it, so find ways to play off of that.

Sponsor local table tennis leagues

So when life is back to “normal,” host a table tennis event at a casino.

Work with USA Table Tennis to put on an event to test the waters.

As the website says, “USA Table Tennis is the sport’s national governing body. USATT is dedicated to the advancement of the game, benefiting players, tournament directors, and clubs.”

One aspect that USA Table Tennis is responsible for is sanctioning tournaments.

Not only would this help the casinos in Colorado and towns, it would help the various table tennis leagues across the state that have been crushed by COVID.

Over a year later, if you visit the Denver Table Tennis Alliance website, it still says at the top of the homepage, “Coronavirus Update: DTTA closed until it’s safe to reopen.”

Obviously the casinos and cities would have to work with USA Table Tennis to ensure the equipment and settings are up to standard. But that is one way this could benefit everyone involved.

As for the operators …

If DraftKings will sponsor a cornhole league, why not table tennis?

Colorado has always been unique. It’s one of many reasons why this state is so special. What makes it so fun is the state embraces that culture. It’s time to do it again for this newly discovered fascinating and weird quirk made possible by sports betting.

Let’s make Colorado the epicenter for table tennis.

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Written by
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 sports betting segment each Wednesday on the VSIN Denver CityCast each Saturday on Klahr and Kompany on Denver radio station ESPN 1600 AM.

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