When Colorado approved sports betting in Nov. 2019, we knew we were in for an interesting ride.
Then COVID-19 hit and life hasn’t been the same since.
That had to impact the plans to launch sports betting, right?
Yet the state chugged ahead nevertheless, unfettered. The Colorado sports betting market would launch on May 1. There were no ifs, ands or buts about it.
Seven months later, it has indeed been an interesting ride — but a memorable one, too.
Here are the top five Colorado sports betting stories for 2020.
1 Launching sports betting with no major U.S. sports
It’s always a challenge to launch something new. You try to lean on what others have done before, but no case is identical.
In terms of sports betting, that’s true for states and the operators.
But having no major sports made the challenge all the more difficult. And interesting.
In a “normal” year, you would have seen MLB in its second month of the season and the NBA and NHL in their respective playoffs.
That’s ripe for a new sports betting market.
In 2020, no dice.
All punters in Colorado could initially put money on was the Korean Baseball Organization and Russian table tennis. Not exactly ideal, but everyone involved made it work.
Now as 2020 comes to a close, it’s one of the top markets in the country.
2 Colorado loves table tennis
The fact bettors in Colorado got into table tennis isn’t a surprise.
There wasn’t anything else to bet on the first three months the market was live.
But it is a major surprise Colorado still can’t quit table tennis, despite the return of major U.S. sports.
When you look sports betting revenue for August through November, Russian table tennis was in the top five of sports wagered on in the state.
For the month of November alone, table tennis was only topped by the NFL and college football.
As for why Colorado has this affinity for table tennis?
According to Jackson Wieger:
“I think a lot of people like myself found it surprisingly fun. Quick, easy bets that pay out after a 10-15 minute match. The timing of it made it a cornerstone of mobile bets, even when sports roared back, so there is the base of loyal bettors that have stuck around since May. If COVID had not happened, no one would care at all about table tennis.”
3 Denver Nuggets overcoming a 3-1 series deficit to win … twice
The fact Nikola Jokić and the Nuggets pulled off that feat once is remarkable.
But to do it in back-to-back series?
Historic, and totally on brand for 2020.
Denver first managed the feat against the Utah Jazz. In doing so, the Nuggets became just the 12th team in NBA history to win a series after trailing 3-1.
Mile High Basketball decided once isn’t enough; let’s double down.
And Denver did it against the Los Angeles Clippers.
As you would expect, the market responded to the Nuggets’ run to the Western Conference Finals.
According to the sports betting revenue for August-October, NBA betting was in the top five for all three months. In fact, it was the most wagered-on sport in August with $38 million total.
For a 2019-20 season recap, DraftKings got even deeper into the betting insight.
Across the season for Nuggets betting, Denver was:
- Fourth based on most money wagered (handle)
- Fourth based on bets
- Second in terms of most profitable for customers
When you defy the odds twice, it’s no wonder betting on the Nuggets made a profit.
4 Denver Broncos not favored in any game in 2020
That tells you how the first season of Broncos betting has gone for this market.
That also tells you all you need to know about the Broncos this season.
When you consider Denver played the New York Jets, it’s a remarkable fact.
The Broncos are either 8-7 or 8-6-1 against the spread this season. That’s about the only positive you can find when it comes to this season.
Drew Lock and the Broncos (5-10) close out the 2020 season against the Las Vegas Raiders (7-8) on Sunday.
5 Colorado becomes one of the top markets in the U.S.
When you look at the November handle of $231.2 million, that’s an impressive number.
The state doesn’t have the population of New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania or Illinois.
It’s unlikely that Colorado’s sports betting revenue will come close to any of those states for that reason.
But as the market continues to age and more operators launch here, that number will continue to shoot up.
Of course, it helps to have major sports back.
It also makes the future of Colorado sports betting even more exciting.