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Launching a sports betting market in the middle of a pandemic is far-from-ideal, but Colorado enjoyed about as much success as it could in its first month. 

The state recorded the second-highest-ever sports betting handle first-month figures for a new US market in May, despite very limited sporting action. 

Operators also brought in almost $1 million in revenue between them, with the state taking a 10% chunk of their earnings. 

The Centennial State also enjoyed higher sports betting activity than some of the country’s more established markets in this vertical. 

Close to a debut sports betting handle record 

Legal sports betting wagers in Colorado amounted to $25.6 million in May, as PlayColorado has revealed in a breakdown of the state’s gaming results for the month. Only one state has seen regulated operators handle more than this in the first month of legal sports betting: Indiana. Players in the Hoosier State betted $32.6 million when the market first launched in September 2019. 

Players in Indiana, which is the US’ fourth-largest sports betting market, again wagered more than Colorado in May 2020 – $37.3 million altogether. However, the Intermountain state did outperform Oregon in this respect; the Beaver State saw players wager $7.3 million. 

Of the $25.6 million that Coloradan operators handled, they kept $946,741 in revenue. 

PlayColorado Lead Analyst  Dustin Gouker spoke about the first month of regulated sports betting in Colorado. His words were as follows. 

“Considering the circumstances of its first month, Colorado debuted about as well as any market could. 

“Ultimately, the revenue that was driven while sports were mostly dormant is less important than sportsbooks launching and engaging sports bettors so they’re ready when major sports resume. By that metric, Colorado’s launch was a success.”

Presence of big sports betting operators in Colorado playing its part 

Both FanDuel and DraftKings, which are two of the US’ largest sportsbooks, have already secured access to the Coloradan sports betting scene. They are joined by the likes of BetMGM. 

From further afield, Betsson has also expanded into the state and will open a small office here. The Swedish operator has enjoyed success both in the Nordic region and elsewhere across Europe. This will be the company’s first US venture, with its sportsbook set to open in the first half of 2021. 

The importance of preparing accordingly is evident in this sense. And Michigan, which is another state to have legalized sports betting, has called on operators to similarly get their applications in early so they can launch their online market sooner rather than later. 

Heading back to Colorado, Gouker echoed the importance of having the big operators ready to go. He continued with the below. 

“One of the primary reasons why Colorado fared well in its first month is that the top brands were ready to go from the beginning.

“Having FanDuel and DraftKings, in addition to BetMGM and BetRivers, accepting bets on the first day of operation is unprecedented. It shows just how much confidence operators have in the future of the Colorado market.”

The makeup of Colorado’s sports betting figures poses promising signs for the return of major events 

A particularly interesting thing to note about Colorado’s May sports betting handle is that $7.9 million was wagered on sports determined to be ‘other’. This excluded the likes of baseball, football, and so on. Table tennis – yes, table tennis – attracted $6.6 million’s worth of bets from players.

Major League Soccer (MLS) has already returned to the US, while the National Basketball Association (NBA)’s resumption will begin before the end of this month – as will the commencement of the new Major League Baseball (MLB) season.

Looking a little further into the future, the 2020 NFL season is scheduled to begin in September. 

As for the state, there is also the chance to make more money as interest in sports betting grows. Following the first month of sports betting, it brought in over $96,000 of operators’ revenue. Going forward, it’s predicted by PlayColorado that the state’s sports betting market could generate $6 billion or higher. Naturally, that will also lead to more tax money.

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