Avalanche Fight For Stanley Cup While Sportsbooks Fight The Betting Surge

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The Colorado Avalanche have found themselves in the Stanley Cup Finals for the third time in program history as they attempt to clean their Stanley Cup winning record. Of all the teams that have made it to the Stanley Cup, they are the only ones with a perfect record.

While this is cause for excitement in Colorado, sportsbooks are having a hard time keeping up with the excitement. In April 2022, Coloradans bet a record $26 million on hockey alone. That compares to the $10.6 million wagered on professional hockey games in April 2021. But the records don’t stop there. This is also the first time a team from a newly legalized state has competed for a US championship in any of the big four sports.

What is unique about this year’s betting trends is that although the state is home to the possible champion, historically, betting on baseball and basketball has been less and less about hockey betting during this period. Except this year, compared to this time last year, neither baseball nor basketball betting has even doubled. Meanwhile, betting on professional ice hockey has increased by 145%. Even during the NCAA March Madness tournament, betting on college basketball in Colorado accounted for just 19.2% of March’s winnings.

operators respond

Still, Colorado’s 39 licensed operators fear for their plight as this influx has made the Avalanche a major drain on Colorado sportsbooks. Jay Korneger, Lead Operator at SuperBook said: “As the operator, we usually need the teams from the regional team. Winning the Avs cup is not our best scenario in Colorado.”

Lead Trader at DraftKings, Johnny Avello, agrees with Korneger – “If you took Colorado out of the mix, we’d be a winner. A good portion of that loss would come from the state of Colorado.”

66% of BetRivers’ handle is attributed to the Avalanche, who are currently a heavy favorite at -195 in Game 1. In fact, they’ve been heavy favorites all year as they’ve never surpassed +550 to win the Stanley Cup this season. The Avalanche is now at -175 to win everything and the Lightning is at +150.

History of Sports Betting in Colorado

Colorado lawmakers passed a sports betting law in November 2019 and officially launched the market in May 2020. They have 39 licensed operators in the state, all of which work with one of the several dozen casinos in the state, in accordance with legal requirements. From big names like DraftKings and Caesars to smaller books like SuperBook, Colorado has had a great first year. In the first 18 months alone, sportsbooks in Colorado processed over $5 billion worth of bets.

However, they only took in $6.6 million in tax revenue in the first year, despite charging a 10% tax rate. This is because the state initially allowed operators to write off the cost of bonuses and promotions, which in turn resulted in the state collecting only about 4% of the total amount for the year. Legislators recently passed House Bill 1402, which will phase out these tax write-offs and hopefully restore meaningful tax revenue to Colorado.

The Colorado sports betting market is overseen and regulated by the Specialized Business Group of the Colorado Division of Gaming.

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