Colorado Sports Betting Handle Grows In March

Written By Hill Kerby on 05/07/2024
An upward sloping graph for a story about Colorado's March sports betting revenue release

Colorado sports bettors continued to rally around the Denver Nuggets and their quest for a second straight NBA championship. The support was a blessing and a curse for Colorado sportsbooks in March.

Sportsbooks in the Centennial State reported their ninth consecutive month with year-over-year gains in sports betting volume. The $593.1 million monthly handle was up 10% from $537 million in February and up 20% from $494.4 million in March 2023.

Gross gaming revenue grew by 74.8% month-over-month (from $25.8 million) but fell by 2% year-over-year (from $45.9 million). The decline came as a direct result of a better month for bettors. Sports betting hold percentage was 7.6% in March 2024 and 9.3% a year earlier.

Nuggets & Parlays Drive March’s Growth

Coloradans put their money where their mouths are when backing their beloved Nuggets. In March, basketball wagers totaled nearly $299 million, 50.4% of the Colorado sports betting handle. This was a sizeable increase from February, when basketball accounted for an equally impressive 43% of the state’s betting volume.

Another $125.4 million in wagers came from parlays, good for 21.1% of the total handle. The Colorado Department of Revenue’s monthly report classifies parlays as their own category because they can span multiple sports.

Seven individual sports (plus parlays) had at least $10 million in March sports betting volume:

  • NBA basketball: $299 million
  • Parlays: $125.4 million
  • NCAA basketball: $36.3 million
  • Tennis: $29.3 million
  • Hockey: $22.3 million
  • Soccer: $21.1 million
  • Table tennis: $14.1 million
  • Baseball: $13 million

Black Hawk Licensees Dominate

Colorado’s sports betting law requires operators to pay a 10% tax on net sports betting proceeds. NSBP includes deductions for federal excise taxes paid and free bets awarded, resulting in a smaller monthly number than gross gaming revenue.

March’s NSBP totaled $31.6 million, and Black Hawk licensees contributed $25.7 million (81.3% market share).

Black Hawk is the largest of Colorado’s three casino towns by a wide margin, with the largest casinos in size and number. Similarly, most of Colorado’s leading sportsbooks have partnerships with Black Hawk casinos.

Cripple Creek licensees had nearly $5 million (16% market share) in March NSBP. Central City accounted for the remaining $899,000 (2.8%).

A record April ahead?

Historically, April’s sports betting volume has declined month over month from March. While that could be the case again in 2024, the state will lean on the Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche, as both eye multiple championships this decade. 

April also had The Masters golf tournament and the start of the Major League Baseball season, despite how bad the Colorado Rockies are this year.

Last April’s statistics were respectable.

  • $417.8 million in betting volume
  • $35.1 million in revenue (8.4% hold)
  • $2.6 million in taxes

Based on recent successes, Colorado sportsbooks should improve on all these numbers over the next few months.

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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