Familiar July Sports Betting Struggles Reported in Colorado
Familiar July Sports Betting Struggles Reported in Colorado
A general view as the sun setsduring the 91st MLB All-Star Game at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado. Justin Edmonds/Getty Images/AFP

It has become a theme within the US legal sports betting industry of sharp July drop-offs in overall wagering activity. 17 participating states have reported their July figures with every one experiencing double-digit percentage drops. Revenues haven’t been as adversely affected across the country but they, too, have been unable to escape the summer seasonal sports betting slowdown.

On Friday if was Colorado, one of the US industry’s most reliably high producing states that revealed their July slump. Colorado was lucky enough to host one of the only marquee sporting events taking place on US soil in July, the MLB All-Star game and even they couldn’t avoid a drastic month-to-month slide. Despite the presence of the Midsummer Classic, Colorado still experienced their worst sports betting month in nearly a year.

“July is historically the slowest month for sports betting in the U.S. for good reason. Not only are there fewer games of interest to bettors, but casual players are typically occupied with family vacations and other summer activities,” said Ian St. Clair, lead analyst for PlayColorado.com, a website focused on sports betting.

The handle

Colorado sportsbooks had a rough month of July. The Colorado Division of Gaming, identified $181.3 million in bets for the state’s legal wagering scene in July, a month-to-month drop of 21.1% from June’s $229.8 million and about $67 million off the handle total for May.

July’s betting total came in as the lowest since the state’s sportsbooks reported $128.6 million in August 2020 but was substantially higher than the $59.2 taken in during July 2020 when the world was absolutely consumed by COVID-19. July 2020 also happened to be the third month of legal sports betting in the state.

The sports betting total in Colorado was dragged down by the usually dependable mobile apps that operate in the state. While still making up an astounding 99% of the state’s overall betting take, internet-based wagering dropped 43% between June and July. $227.1 million was bet online in June, just $179.1 million in July.

Checking out sportsbook and tax revenues

While sports betting activity in Colorado fell off a cliff in July, a revenues drop was somewhat mitigated by a reasonable 8.63-win rate for the state’s sportsbooks. Betting operators made $15.7 million in July, which represents a 20.7% drop from the $19.73 million in profits from June.

Colorado state and local coffers were able to collect $999,110 in taxes off the sportsbook profits. That number is down about 20% from the $1.2 million in tax contributions from June.

Thank goodness for baseball

With the summer sports betting menu seriously lacking, something had to pick up the slack for the Colorado legal sports betting scene. There were only 2 NBA Finals games in July and the Olympics fell far short of betting expectations.

It’s a good thing for baseball that contributed $61.1 million toward the Colorado legal sports betting handle – about one third of all bets taken in. Basketball followed with $27.2 million in bets and soccer was next with $14 million. “Other” sports contributed $48.3 million to the overall Colorado handle – the Olympics were included in that category.

Thank goodness September is here

It has been a long and underwhelming summer for the Colorado sports betting scene, but September marks a time of exponential growth for the industry across the country. It’s true that August figures will likely disappoint again but September promises an enormous spike.

Eric Ramsey, an analyst for the PlayUSA is counting on sportsbooks to “reverse any volume loss” once the football season starts.

The Colorado legal sports betting market has been nothing short of remarkable since launching in May 2020. It has so far weathered the worst of COVID-19 and a turbulent summer.

Through it all, Colorado has been able to maintain a Top-5 spot on the list of the most bet-friendly states in the nation. Expect that to continue and for monthly records to possibly fall before the end of 2021.

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