DENVER (KDVR) — It has been five months since sports betting was legalized in Colorado, and as more sports return, big money is beginning to flow.
Numbers from the state’s Department of Revenue show Coloradans placed more than $128 million in wagers in August, an average of more than $4 million every single day.
That’s a sizable change from May, when Coloradans placed $25 million in bets on things like table tennis and European soccer.
“Colorado is now one of our top five, and growing,” says Johnny Avello. “It’s a great state to have on board.”
Avello is the director of Race and Sports Operations for DraftKings, one of multiple online betting platforms now available in the state.
So far, Avello says Coloradans have bet most heavily on the NBA, with the Nuggets the bet of choice during the playoffs.
“Certainly everybody was waiting for these core sports to return,” he says. “It’s growing in leaps and bounds.”
Bettors like Ben Cary used to have to travel to Vegas to place bets. Now, he can do so from his Denver couch.
“It feels really good to get on your phone and legally place a sports bet,” he says. “It’s a pretty cool feeling.”
Cary quit his full-time job in the software industry to focus on sports betting, while launching a company aimed at helping others. CapWize offers free picks every day, with more in-depth analysis for subscribers.
“We’re using a simulation model that takes in the numbers and then outputs what the score is predicted to be,” he says. “Anything can happen any given Sunday, so it’s not a perfect model, but it does pretty well.”
Cary says friends and family questioned the decision to focus on sports betting, but he says so far, it’s paid off.
“It was a hard decision,” he says. “People thought I was crazy, but you just have to follow your passion, and I knew it was right for me.”
Cary says the return of the NFL has sparked interest in his service, and he expects numbers to continue to grow.
“It definitely speaks to the volume of how many people are actually betting,” he says. “And that number is only going to increase. I wouldn’t be surprised if in three, four months, if it’s double that.”
Colorado does collect a tax on the industry, which will eventually fund future water projects in the state. That work could begin as soon as 2021.