The Colorado Department of Revenue reported an all-time monthly high of $53.5 million in sports betting gross revenue for January on Tuesday, furthering a strong nationwide start for sportsbooks in 2024.

The revenue total eclipsed the previous record of $51.3 million established in September 2022; the only other occasion operators cleared $50 million. Most of the $596.7 million handle was wagered via sports betting apps, with mobile books posting a 9% hold while claiming $53.3 million in gross winnings from $592.2 million worth of wagers.

Retail betting dragged the hold slightly under 9% as Colorado’s three locations where retail betting is available — Cripple Creek, Black Hawk, and Central City — combined for a 4.2% win rate and $190,400 in revenue from $4.5 million handle.

Gross revenue was up 50.8% compared to the first month of 2023, while the $38.5 million in adjusted gross revenue eligible for taxation — also an all-time monthly best — was an increase of 71.4%. The January AGR represented 72.1% of gross revenue, the highest percentage since last August.

Handle was up 9% versus January 2023 but down 16.7% from the record $716.4 million in wagers in December. Tax receipts surpassed $4 million for the first time in 45 months of wagering in the Centennial State, pushing the all-time total to $65.9 million.

House cleans up on NFL, gives back on NCAAF

Perhaps it was Green Bay’s upset of Dallas in the NFC wild-card round or Colorado bettors hate-betting against AFC West rival Kansas City as the Chiefs made their way to Super Bowl LVIII in January, but sportsbooks posted big wins on NFL wagering to open 2024. Operators collected $10.2 million and posted an 11.9% hold on $86.1 million handle on pro football bets, a solid 39.3% year-over-year jump in revenue despite a 29.5% plunge in handle.

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The house, though, gave back in college football as bettors came out $1.4 million ahead riding Michigan to the College Football Playoff title. It was the second-largest monthly loss for operators for college gridiron action — they paid out $1.6 million on top of the $50.4 million handle generated in October 2022.

NFL winnings were the biggest source of revenue from single-event wagering by sport, while the NBA came in second at $7.1 million. Operators had a more modest 5.2% win rate from $135.3 million handle as winnings were relatively flat compared to January 2023 and handle down 24%.

The sharp declines in single-event handle in the two most popular sports in Colorado are easy to explain as bettors funneled far more of their handle into parlays. There were all-time monthly highs in revenue ($31.5 million) and handle ($269.1 million), continuing a growth of explosion that coincided with the start of the NFL season in September. Parlay handle was up 176.8% compared to January 2023 and surged 31.8% from December’s short-lived high of $204.2 million.

The $825.1 million handle for parlay bets spanning the last five months represents 26% of the $3.18 billion in all-time handle for such wagers. Operators have won $105.6 million while notching a 12.8% hold in that span — notably lower than the all-time win rate of 14.6%

Colorado bettors were again tough outs in January for the multi-leg bets even as revenue accounted for close to 60% of all winnings. The house posted an 11.7% hold for parlay bets in January; by far the lowest among the five states with a minimum of $10 million handle that publish both handle and revenue figures.

Bettors do well in college hoops and hockey

Colorado bettors had solid starts to 2024 in both college basketball and hockey, holding the house to sub-2% holds in both. Operators came away with $442,000 in college basketball against $24.6 million worth of wagers and were only $232,000 ahead on $11.9 million handle for NHL action.

The house did put up seven-figure revenue totals in tennis ($1.9 million), soccer ($1.3 million) and golf ($1 million). Holds on tennis and soccer ticked over 9%, while operators had a 29.6% win rate for golf against $3.5 million handle. Amateur Nick Dunlap winning The American Express may have contributed to that high hold as well as possible futures wagering on The Masters.

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