Colorado Sports Betting Handle Hit $3.9 Billion in 2021

Colorado Flag with Green Chart Arrow Going up and Dealer Pushing Chips on a Table

Colorado has joined the growing list of states who had record-breaking years in 2021. According to the latest report from the Colorado Department of Revenue, the Rocky Mountain State reached nearly $4 billion in sports betting handle last year. Colorado legalized sports betting in May 2020. In that time, the state has exceeded over $5 billion in sports betting handle.

December’s sports betting numbers were down slightly from November. However, sportsbooks still registered the third-highest gross revenue in the state’s history. It was also the fourth consecutive month that the reported gross revenue topped $20 million.

There are several highly rated online betting options in Colorado. That is good news for sportsbooks as a big part of Colorado’s sports betting success is due to online betting. Nearly all of the sports bettors in Colorado use online betting options. The growing popularity of the NBA in Colorado also helped. Bettors wagered nearly 40% more on the NBA than on the NFL last year.

Many operators found success in their first full year of operations. The State has also benefitted from the success of its sports betting operators. Colorado collected over $11 million in taxes off of legal betting operations last year. The strong end to 2021 could position gaming operators for an even better performance this year.

December had the Third Highest GGR in Colorado’s History

According to the Colorado Department of Revenue, bettors in Colorado placed $461.1 million in wagers in December. December’s handle was down nearly 3% from November’s total. Compared to the same time in 2020 however, the December handle was up 60%. Like many states, 2021 represented a bounce-back year for sportsbooks in Colorado.

December’s gross gaming revenue (GGR) was also down from November’s total. Sportsbooks raked in $24.7 million in GGR for December. It marked the fourth consecutive month that the GGR topped $20 million. However, it was down nearly 33% from November’s GGR total of $36.8 million.

Despite the drop in GGR, December’s total was still the third-best total in Colorado’s history. December capped off the best quarter in the Rocky Mountain State’s history as well. The last three months of 2021 were the three highest monthly totals in Colorado’s history. In total, the sports betting handle in the last quarter of 2021 was over $1.4 billion.

Part of the drop in GGR can be attributed to a decrease in sportsbooks win rate. The house reportedly won at a rate of just 5.4% in December. That is the third-lowest win rate of any month in the state’s history.

Impact of Online Sports Betting on Colorado’s Betting Handle

Colorado is one of the dozens of states that allow sports betting. It is also on the shortlist of states that permit online sports betting. Coloradans have made sure to take advantage of online betting options. Since sports betting was legalized in May 2020, 98% of sports bets have been placed using online betting options.

The sportsbooks in Colorado have benefited greatly from the rise in popularity of the NBA. Professional football is widely popular across US sports betting markets. In Colorado, bettors wagered $689.2 million throughout 2021. Bettors wagered nearly 40% more on the NBA. In total, $958 million was wagered on NBA games last year in Colorado.

Pro football may be more popular than basketball, but the season is also shorter. The Broncos only play 17 regular-season games, while the Nuggets play 82. Having more games give bettors more options to place wagers. The success of the Denver Nuggets also makes fans more likely to bet on their games.

Sports betting operators pulled in plenty of revenue from the record wagers placed last year. Throughout the year, sportsbooks reported a total revenue of $250.1 million in 2021. The state of Colorado benefited greatly from the success of its sports betting operators. Sportsbooks paid a total of $11.7 million in taxes last year.

Colorado’s Sportsbooks Reached New Heights in 2021

Last year was the first full year with legal sports betting in Colorado. Bettors made sure to take advantage of the opportunity. In 2021, a total of $3.9 billion was wagered on sports by Colorado bettors. Colorado also became the sixth state to top a total sports betting handle of $5 billion since PASPA was overturned in 2018.

The betting handle in 2021 was more than triple the amount wagered the year before. In the eight months with legal sports betting, bettors only wagered $1.2 billion in 2020. The state only collected $3 million in taxes that year.

Colorado’s sports betting market is still coming into its own. Sportsbooks set records for betting handles, total revenue, and many other metrics. The market peaked in October, but the numbers from November and December were still some of the highest in the state’s history. Colorado regulators also approved new sportsbooks to open last year. The Rocky Mountain State’s sports betting industry is in a position for an even bigger performance in 2022.


Sportsbooks in the Centennial State reached new heights in 2021. Colorado became the sixth state to reach a betting handle of $5 billion since 2018. The $3.9 billion wagered in 2021 made sure of that. Bettors in the Rocky Mountain State overwhelmingly preferred online betting options. Roughly 98% of all sports bets were placed using online betting options.

December’s handle was down slightly from the previous month. However, even with the 32.8% drop, the betting handle in December was still the third-highest in the history of the state. Now, sportsbooks will try to replicate their success in 2022.

The Colorado betting market may not be as populous as other states, but its bettors are just as active. Colorado is consistently in the top six across most betting metrics. 2021 was the first full year of legalized sports betting in the state. Despite being a market that is still in development, sportsbooks generated over $250 million in revenue last year.

A growing interest in professional sports should help sports betting operators keep the momentum going. The Broncos will have a new coach and QB combo next season. In the NBA, the Nuggets feature the reigning league MVP. As the sports teams in Colorado gain more national interest, the sports betting market will also likely grow.