Sports Betting gambling

Gamblers place bets in the temporary sports betting area at the SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia on Dec. 13, 2018.

A full schedule of NFL and college football games, along with baseball playoffs and the beginning of professional basketball and hockey seasons, pushed Colorado sports bets to a record $491.5 million in October.

Last month's total was up more than 20% from September's total, the previous record, and more than double the handle from October 2020, the Colorado Division of Gaming reported Tuesday.

More than a third of the October total, $167.7 million, was bet on NFL football, despite the Denver Broncos winning just one of five games during the month. Bets on NBA basketball were the second most popular with $63.3 million in wagers, followed by college football with $nearly $52 million in bets. Together, professional and college football accounted for nearly half of all bets.

"Five full weeks of the NFL and college football will always be good for sportsbooks, but for that to coincide with baseball's postseason and the opening of the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche seasons made October a sort of perfect storm," said Ian St. Clair, lead analyst for PlayColorado.com, which follows regulated gaming in Colorado. "With the Broncos bouncing back, and college basketball cranking up, wagering should remain high in the coming months."

Baseball attracted $37.4 million in bets, followed by soccer, tennis and hockey, which combined generated $43.1 million in wagers. Bets on other sports totaled $34.7 million and parlays and combination bets generated nearly $90 million.

Of the nearly $500 million wagers, sportsbooks paid out $462.8 million to winning bettors, or 94.2%. The record month generated $9.79 million in revenue for the state's sportsbooks, or more than five times what they netted in September after giving away nearly $20 million in free bets. That also meant the state collected a record $1.25 million in taxes, or more than triple the amount received in September.

Colorado voters legalized sports betting by approving Proposition DD in November 2019, with wagering beginning six months later in May 2020. Since then, Colorado bettors have wagered more than $4 billion. Colorado sportsbooks pay a 10% tax on what they keep after paying winners and subtracting free bets; those funds are set aside for Colorado water projects.

Contact Wayne Heilman 636-0234

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