The sports betting industry in Colorado was launched on May 1 without most of the top tier games, but the unprecedented conditions did not stop fans betting on the limited offer.
According to DraftKings, table tennis is the most popular sport to gamble among Coloradans, which has made the most bets on volume and dollar so far this month.
The second most popular sport by both statistics is the Ultimate Fighting Championship, which staged its first weekend fights since March, followed by Korean baseball and Belarus Premier League Soccer, the sportsbook reported.
Saturday’s UFC 249 games, headed by lightweight contenders Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje, also boosted bets under Coloradans using the online sportsbooks BetRivers and FanDuel.
“We don’t have any previous Colorado data to compare it to, but in our other markets we got more bets on this event than any regular season NFL game,” said Mattias Stetz, chief operating officer of BetRivers parent company Rush Street Interactive . “It was even 33% more popular than Conor McGregor’s return to UFC last January.”
The game has also been FanDuel’s most popular event in the Centennial State so far, said publicity director Kevin Hennessy, followed by table tennis and bets on future NFL games and NASCAR races.
DraftKings, FanDuel and BetRivers declined to specify the monetary value of bets in Colorado. The state’s Gaming division, part of the Department of Revenue, expects to release a monthly report detailing the industry, but had no figures for the first ten days, said communications manager Suzi Karrer.
Chris Altruda, national sports betting analyst PennBets.com, said the UFC’s draw is not surprising, as it was a high-profile event in the United States with well-known athletes who could even attract regular gamblers. More obscure sports, such as Korean baseball and table tennis, could increasingly gain traction the longer the competition lasts, he said; however, the handle or bet amount in dollars is unlikely to be impressive compared to regular leagues.
Still, Altruda believes that “ there would never be a ‘bad’ launch date ” because of rules that allow players to log into an app remotely without going to a casino.
“The legislation still provides an excellent beta testing ground for regulators to ensure everything is working and for the sportsbooks to learn more about the new market,” Altruda said.
Dan Hartman, director of the Gaming division of Colorado, agreed, calling the early days of sports betting “successful.”
“We are excited to see the full potential of sports betting in Colorado as more operators come online and more sporting events return in the coming weeks and months,” said Hartman.