US Sports Betting Update – Colorado joins the $8 billion club
Colorado sportsbooks have now handled more than $8 billion since the Centennial State legalized online sports wagering in 2020. It makes Colorado the seventh state in the post-PASPA era to smash through the $8 billion barrier, following in the footsteps of New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Illinois, New York and Indiana. The landmark follows a bumper trading period in August, which saw Colorado sportsbooks handle $290.1 million in wagers.
It represented a strong 36.9% year-on-year increase compared to August 2021, while it was also up 12.3% from the $258.4 billion handled in July. August is a quiet month in the sporting calendar, featuring only MLB action, the NFL preseason and Week Zero of the college football season. Baseball dominated the handle, with more than 40% of all wagers going on America’s pastime, despite the Colorado Rockies languishing at the bottom of the NL West.
Tennis was the second most popular sport – the US Open started in August, marking the end of Serena Williams’ glorious career – with 10% of the handle. Pro football came third, accounting for just 7.4% of the handle, showing how insignificant preseason games are from a betting perspective. International basketball was next with 7%, while college football accounted for only 1.5% of the handle. Soccer had its best month, with $1.8 million wagered.
Parlays Boost Revenue for Sportsbooks
Colorado bettors spent $52.7 million on parlays in August. They are notoriously tricky to land, so sportsbooks held onto 10.9% of that handle for $5.7 million in revenue. They reported a 5.5% hold on baseball, for $6.5 million in revenue. The overall hold in August was 8.9%, which left the sportsbooks with $25.9 million in gross revenue and a record $22 million in adjusted revenue, leaving the state with $1.8 million in taxes.
The Centennial State already has the most competitive sports wagering market in the country, with more than 20 online sportsbooks fighting for share. It grew even more competitive in September, when Bet365 – the world’s most popular online sportsbook – made its long-awaited Colorado debut. The handle should be a lot higher when the state reports September trading figures, with several weeks of NFL action included.
Competition Heats Up in Indiana
Colorado has now pulled clear of Michigan and Indiana as the sixth largest sports betting market in the United States. New York is the clear leader, ahead of New Jersey, Illinois, Nevada, Pennsylvania. Colorado has been vying with Michigan and Indiana for sixth place, but its August handle significantly exceeded that in both states. They could bounce back now that the NFL season is up and running, but for now, Colorado leads them in terms of handle and revenue.
There are not quite as many sportsbooks in Indiana, but competition is heating up. Hoosier State bettors could already choose from industry leaders FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM and Caesars – which control 80% of the market – along with Bally Bet, Barstool, BetRivers, Betway, Hard Rock, PointsBet, TwinSpires, Unibet and WynnBET, and now two more sportsbooks have launched this week. Players can now check out MaximBet and SBK in Indiana.
MaximBet Targets Major Expansion
MaximBet has only been available in Colorado until this week. However, it has gone live in Indiana, and plans are afoot to expand into Iowa, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Ontario. A company called Carousel Group runs MaximBet after securing a licensing deal with the men’s lifestyle brand’s publisher. The sportsbook initially used proprietary technology created by the Carousel team, but it is switching to white-label tech and odds from Kambi. Kristian Nylén, Kambi’s chief executive said that MaximBet’s “customer-first mentality makes their debut launch in Indiana an exciting opportunity for both parties as well as bettors in the midwestern state.”
It is an important development for Kambi, which announced this week that it will stop powering Barstool Sportsbook in 2023. Barstool is switching to in-house tech, which is used to power sister site theScore Bet in Ontario. Kambi still works with Unibet and BetRivers in the US, and it will be keen to see MaximBet grow its footprint.
MaximBet has signed up rapper Nicky Minaj as a brand ambassador to boost its publicity as it embarks on the expansion trail. “To begin now just as the NFL season is revving up and with NHL, NBA, and college basketball action right around the corner, we couldn't be more excited about our future,” said founder and chief executive Daniel Graetzer.
SBK Tempts Bettors with Sharp Odds
MaximBet has launched a deposit match bonus worth up to $250 in a bid to claw market share away from established rivals in Indiana. That is a generous bonus at a time when most rivals are switching to risk-free bet promotional mechanics. SBK does not offer such compelling bonuses, but it invests in providing the best odds on the market. It is a rarity in the US legal sports betting industry: a reduced juice sportsbook that operates on slim margins and provides bettors with great value.
SBK is also expanding out of Colorado, the only state in which it was previously available. “As one of the only smaller, private operators to have successfully launched in the US, I’m thrilled to go live in a second state with SBK,” said Jason Trost, chief executive at parent company Smarkets. “We are simply not like other operators. Our focus is on providing the best odds possible and in-house product excellence, and we believe this ethos will win out in the long run.”
Louisiana Enjoys Bounce Back, But Massachusetts Faces Delays
In other news, Louisiana sportsbooks enjoyed an 8.4% monthly increase in handle during August. It snapped a five-month streak of declining handle figures. Sportsbooks handled $128.2 million in wagers, earning net proceeds of $9.5 million, which amounts to a hold of 7.4%. The Pelican State earned $1.8 million in taxes.
Meanwhile, anyone hoping to see legal sports betting in Massachusetts rolled out before the end of the year was left disappointed after yesterday’s Massachusetts Gaming Commission meeting. The state legalized sports betting in the summer, and some lawmakers hoped the first mobile apps could launch this fall. The commission laid out what it described as an “aggressive” launch deadline, but it revealed that 2023 was the earliest potential starting point. “There is no way we could do this any earlier,” said executive director Karen Wells. “No way.”