The Colorado Division of Gaming reported an all-time monthly high of $608.5 million in sports wagering handle for November on Friday, but a strong effort by the betting public in parlay betting helped send operators to a sub-5% hold for the second time in 2023.

Colorado became the 10th state to post at least one monthly handle of $600 million, with Virginia having also accomplished the feat for the first time in November. The previous record for monthly wagers in Colorado was $573.7 million in January 2022, and it was the ninth time operators accepted more than $500 million worth of wagers in 43 months of betting.

The Centennial State also became just the sixth state to surpass $15 billion in all-time handle since launch. November wagering was up 10.1% compared to last year and 9.7% higher versus the $554.9 million reported for October.

Operators reported $28.6 million in gross revenue, down 23.9% from the previous November and 39.1% from October. Their overall hold of 4.7% was the sixth-worst in state history and the lowest since the sub-3% win rate posted in June after the Denver Nuggets won the NBA title.

The state was able to levy taxes on $14 million in net sports betting proceeds, resulting in an inflow of $1.5 million into state tax coffers. The Division of Gaming does not provide handle and revenue numbers by operator, but the $14.6 million in promotional credits and other deductions reported was a high for 2023.

This implies that ESPN BET and other betting apps — most notably FanDuel, DraftKings, and BetMGM — had a notable promotional spend in the Centennial State. ESPN BET launched nationwide in mid-November and has aggressively offered promotions and bonuses tied to that launch. Colorado-based operators are allowed to deduct up to 2.5% of their handle as promotional credits against gross revenue.

Parlay winnings plummet for operators

Already known as a place where bettors perform better than average when it comes to parlays, Coloradans raised their game further in November by limiting operators to an 8.2% win rate on a record parlay handle of $135.3 million. It was the lowest hold on parlays for operators since being limited to 6.8% in June 2022, a knock-on effect of the Colorado Avalanche winning the Stanley Cup.

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Colorado bettors are on pace to surpass $1 billion handle for parlay wagering this year, having topped $100 million for the first time in October. While year-over-year parlay betting was up 47.4% compared to November 2022, operator winnings plunged 38.6% to just shy of $11.1 million.

That mirrored the nationwide trend for November, as the year-over-year hold for parlays in the other four states that reported both handle and revenue dropped substantially. Oregon was the only state among the five to post a year-over-year gain in parlay revenue, but that 6.2% gain sorely lagged behind its handle surging 50.4%, and its 16.4% win rate was nearly seven percentage points lower than the 23.3% hold in November 2022.

Year-to-date parlay handle and revenue in Colorado are both up 10.5% compared to last year, as the 2022 hold of 14.74% is a mere hundredth of a percentage point better than the first 11 months of 2023.

Bettors in the Centennial State also fared well in single-event wagering in the two most popular sports in November. Operators were limited to a sub-3.3% hold in NFL wagering, claiming just $4.9 million in winnings from $151.2 million handle, and failed to crack 4% on NBA bets in keeping $5.7 million of the $143.6 million worth of wagers placed. Bettors nearly broke even in college football wagering, as the house won just over $185,000 of the $52.1 million in wagers placed, resulting in a hold under 0.4%.

Despite being lower than expected, parlay revenue was still the largest source of revenue for a single category. Operators also absorbed a $1.6 million loss on baseball wagers in November, paying out nearly $2.9 million worth of winning tickets that included futures on the Texas Rangers winning the World Series.

Tennis provided the third-most revenue among sports, with the house claiming $2.2 million worth of winnings while crafting a 9.6% win rate. Soccer winnings totaled $1.7 million on the strength of an 11.6% hold, while operators picked up nearly $933,000 in winnings from NHL games with a 4.8% hold.

Though table tennis handle slipped under $10 million for the first time since June, the 6.6% hold resulted in a slight month-over-month increase in revenue to nearly $649,000. The popular niche sport is all but certain to clear $100 million in 2023 handle, needing less than $1.1 million worth of bets in December to reach the benchmark.

Numbers trending positively into December

With one month left of numbers to add, the $4.8 billion handle through the first 11 months of 2023 is up 3.9% compared to last year. The 7.3% hold has resulted in $351.4 million in gross revenue, an increase of 13% versus 2022.

But the change in limiting promotional deductions allowed has impacted taxable revenue the most, as that increase is 45.3% to $237 million. Colorado has claimed $23.7 million in sports wagering taxes in 2023, which is $6.7 million ahead of last year’s pace heading into the final month of the year.





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