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Colorado Sports Betting Revenue Sets New April High

Written By Derek Helling on June 5, 2023
jamal murray looks to pass basketball during denver nuggets game

The Denver Nuggets’ run to the 2023 NBA Finals might prove to be a boon for the franchise but for Colorado sports betting, the early numbers suggest there was no impact. In fact, Colorado residents and visitors wagered more on professional basketball in April 2022 than they did in April 2023.

Despite that, Colorado sportsbooks just had their best month of April yet. They managed to do that despite growing bettor success in another related category, too. The books’ saving grace for the month came from what might have been an unexpected source.

Colorado sportsbooks see usual April downturn

Month-over-month comparisons for US sports betting licensees in April are never kind. That’s primarily because March contains dozens of March Madness games and books paying out futures wagers on those tournaments in April.

That narrative played out again in Colorado in April this year. Compared to March’s Colorado sports betting returns, Coloradans wagered about 15.5% less money and the state collected around 16.77% less tax revenue.

In fact, Colorado bettors enjoyed bigger payouts from NCAA basketball bets this year than in any April prior. Legal sports betting began in Colorado in May 2020.

colorado sports betting on ncaa basketball has increasingly been in bettors' favor

Despite that growth, there is no reason to worry about Colorado sportsbooks’ bottom lines. They more than made up for that loss of $1.1 million in many other categories. For example, the books won over $13 million during the month on parlay bets.

A news release from the Colorado Department of Revenue also points out that the amount of money wagered and the state’s share of the revenue were both up this year as compared to April 2022 as well. That deviation is partially due to an increase in the popularity of betting on a different sport.

April 2023 represented strong overall growth

Despite the growth in payouts on NCAA basketball bets in April 2023, it was the best such month for sportsbooks in Colorado yet. Additionally, it was that by a significant margin. In terms of gross revenue, the books collected more than $35.1 million during the month.

That’s a 35.9% increase from April 2022 and a 50.2% increase from April 2021. Part of the reason for that increase was more action on baseball during April of this year. The amount of money bet on baseball in April of this year was up 21.1% compared to the same month last year.

Simultaneously, the books won about 9% more of that larger amount of money than they did in April 2022. This is despite the fact that the Colorado Rockies actually posted a stronger winning percentage in April of 2022 than they have during the current season.

To further demonstrate that the performances of local sports entities don’t seem to influence bettors’ activity in this regard, there’s the professional basketball wagering activity. Colorado’s Dept. of Revenue lumps all bets on all global basketball leagues together. Thus, it’s difficult to ascertain exactly how much of the money was bet and won on NBA games alone.

However, if the performances of in-state teams like the Nuggets were to have a significant impact on Colorado sports betting activity, it would be fair to expect a jump in such activity on pro basketball this April compared to April 2022. Last season, the Nuggets lost to the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the playoffs.

Despite the Nuggets’ comparatively extended playoff run this year, bettors actually wagered about $9.8 million more in April of last year on pro basketball. Sportsbooks also won around $11.5 million more of that money in April 2022 compared to this year.

Moving forward into May and June, there will be three things to watch to better understand bettors in Colorado:

  • How NBA futures paid out after the Finals end affect sportsbook revenues
  • Whether the 20% bump in baseball betting continues
  • If the overall revenue total will continue to represent single-month highs

For now, it appears the success or lack thereof of local sports teams had no significant impact upon Coloradans’ betting preferences. What is clear, though, is that Coloradans seem to be getting more successful with their March Madness futures bets.

Photo by AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill; illustrated by PlayUSA
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is the assistant managing editor of PlayUSA. Helling focuses on breaking news, including finance, regulation, and technology in the gaming industry. Helling completed his journalism degree at the University of Iowa and resides in Chicago

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