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Over $5B wagered by Colorado sports bettors since legalization

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Robert Davis | The Center Square contributor

(The Center Square) – Colorado has seen over $5 billion in sports betting wagers since legalization in May 2020, according to the latest monthly market data from the Department of Revenue (CDOR). 

Bettors in the state wagered more than $461 million in December, a slight decrease from November’s total handle. On an annualized basis, December’s handle represents a more than 62 percent increase over December 2020’s handle of more than $281 million, according to CDOR's data

“The last three months of 2021 really put an exclamation point on what has been relentless growth all year,” said Ian St. Clair, lead analyst for the industry website PlayColorado. “Coloradoans continue to wager at a pace on par with more populous states, and it is still a market that has not yet fully matured. The state’s sportsbooks are in a really good place.”

According to CDOR’s data, American football was the top sport for total handle in December with more than $136 million wagered. Online wagers accounted for $133 million, or approximately 97 percent, of the overall handle for the sport. 

Basketball had the second highest handle with more than $125 million wagered. Together, basketball and American football accounted for 56% of the total wagers placed in December. 

The data also shows that Colorado’s earnings from its gaming industry is increasing. The state’s gross gaming revenue (GGR), which deducts total payments to players from the wagers collected, came out at $24.7 million in December. That represents an increase of more than 30% over the last 12 months.  

In all, Colorado collected more than $770,000 in taxes on December wagers from its GGR, compared to the more than $333,000 it collected in December 2020. 

“By nearly every metric Colorado is hitting above its weight class, with the exception of the tax revenue sports betting generates,” said Eric Ramsey, analyst for the PlayUSA network, which includes PlayColorado. “Importantly, tax revenue ramped up at the end of the year, which is a positive development. That could continue as the market expands and sportsbooks begin to taper their promotions.”