Sports wagering handle in Colorado topped $500 million in March, aided by a sharp year-over-year increase in men’s college basketball betting, according to figures released by the state’s Department of Revenue on Wednesday.
It was the second time the Centennial State surpassed one-half billion in wagers, with March’s $505.1 million trailing only the record $573.7 million wagered in January. March’s figure represented a 14.8% increase from February’s handle of $440.5 million and also was a 68% increase versus the March 2021 handle of $301 million.
College basketball’s signature event — the NCAA Tournament — proved to be a popular draw, as college basketball handle for the entire month totaled close to $97 million. That was 36.6% higher than the $71 million wagered in 2021, which was the first year Coloradans could wager on March Madness.
Operators reported $28.2 million in gross revenue for March, a 44% increase from February as the 5.6% hold was more than one full percentage point higher than the previous month. Operators reported promotional credits totaling just shy of $15.2 million in March, a month-over-month decline of 26.7%. The adjusted revenue total eligible for taxation was slightly more than $13 million, with the state collecting more than $1.3 million in receipts for March.
Handle for the first three months of 2022 has totaled more than $1.5 billion, a 69.9% increase versus the first quarter of 2021. Gross revenue has surged 52.9% to $82.5 million, but promotional credits have exceeded that pace at 87.4% to nearly $58.9 million. The state has collected close to $3.1 million in taxes in 2022, nearly $500,000 more than in the first three months of last year.
Nuggets and NBA wagering still the big draw
Top 10 Running #SportsBetting handle 2022 YTD by state (March in CAPS)
1 NEW YORK $4.87B
2 NEW JERSEY $3.46B
3 PENNSYLVANIA: $2.11B
4 Nevada $1.88B
5 Illinois $1.55B
6 COLORADO $1.52B <–NEW
7 MICHIGAN $1.43B
8 INDIANA $1.39B
9 TENNESSEE $1.07B
10 Virginia $887.4M
— Chris Altruda (@AlTruda73) April 27, 2022
Though the Nuggets could have their playoff run cut short Wednesday night as they try to stave off elimination by the Golden State Warriors, NBA wagering continued to be the primary point of interest for wagering in Colorado. The $218.4 million pro basketball handle in March was an all-time record for any sport in the state and a 40.3% increase compared to February’s $155.6 million.
Despite the spike in wagers, operator revenue from pro basketball tumbled 13.2% to nearly $5.8 million, with the win rate a paltry 2.6%. Similarly, despite the sharp upturn in college basketball handle, year-over-year revenue lagged behind, ticking 8.2% higher to more than $4.7 million.
One area where action could pick up without the Nuggets is pro hockey wagering, as the Avalanche have clinched the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference for the upcoming Stanley Cup playoffs in a bid for their first title since 2001. Pro hockey handle has averaged nearly $25 million over the past three months — with a record $26 million bet in March and operators claiming more than $1.6 million in revenue.
Parlays power revenue totals
💸 (Parlay): $99.72M/$9.87M/9.9%
🤷 (Other): $11.57M/$918.5K/7.94%
🥊 (MMA): $3.42M/$771.7K/22.54%
🏓 (TTN): $1.34M/$88.6K/6.61%
— Chris Altruda (@AlTruda73) April 27, 2022
Parlays accounted for more than one-third of all operator gross revenue at nearly $9.9 million from $99.7 million wagered, but the 9.9% hold marked the second straight month bettors kept that win rate in single digits. Operators have claimed $29.8 million in revenue from $269 million worth of parlay wagers in 2022, but the resulting 11.1% hold is well off the all-time 14.1% mark since launch.
Tennis ($1.8 million) and soccer ($1.4 million) were the other sports to surpass $1 million in revenue for March, with the catch-all “other” category coming close with nearly $920,000.
One notable area of wagering in Colorado, table tennis, slowed — in large part due to the war in Ukraine, as many operators have pulled Russian and Belarusian events off the board. Table tennis handle in March plummeted to $1.3 million, more than 80% lower compared to February and the lowest amount since the state began accepting wagers. The $88,619 in revenue represented the smallest monthly total for operators as well, marking the first time it was under six figures.