Sports Bet Wagers Experience Monthly Decrease; Stellar Time Reported for Creek Casinos

Rick Langenberg

The Colorado Division of Gaming recently released the most recent  monthly sports betting figures, indicating that wagers on pro and college games (made mostly via casino aps and sports outlets available through licensed gaming establishments) have experienced a slight decrease.

Still, the wagering numbers are pretty eye-popping and B-ball games are the big winner for sports bets, both for professional ball and at the NCAA level.  .

And on the regular gaming front, Cripple Creek had a stellar month, with a substantial hike in winnings that outpaced the rival gaming towns outside Denver on a percentage basis.  Officials are crediting the two weekend-long Ice Fest for this nearly 10 percent increase in adjusted gross proceeds.  Crowds were estimated at close to 30,000 people during the festival, according to preliminary estimates.

According to the Colorado Division of Gaming, the total handle for February 2023 was a little  more than $425  million. This amounts to a  a 22.3% decrease from the total handle of the prior month that recorded $547.2 million.  A year-to-year comparison shows a 3.49% decrease from the total handle in February 2022 of  $440.5 million.

But one fact remains certain: sports betting is a huge, $3 billion-plus industry. Unfortunately, Cripple Creek and Teller County receive zilch dollars from the allocation of the sports betting revenue, a system that is being challenged by political leaders.

In February 2023, taxes from sports betting wagers totaled $1.26 million, representing a 51.39% decrease over the prior month of January 2023. Taxes collected by the state in February 2023, though, increased over taxes collected last year during the same period a year ago.

Fiscal Year Taxes to date (FYTD) for February are $17.24 million,  a 116.36% increase from the FYTD taxes for February 2022.

In February, professional basketball placed in the top spot for the month with $155.6 million in total wagers, followed by NCAA Basketball with $68.11 million in bets. Wagers on American professional football placed third with $27.6 million. The fourth spot went to tennis with $25.4 million.  Meanwhile, ice hockey finished in the fifth slot with $19.6 million in total wagers.

View the February 2023 Sports Betting Monthly Proceeds report on the Division of Gaming’s website at

Creek Casino Hit Jackpot

As for regular gaming action, February was an excellent month, according to Cripple Creek Finance Director Paul Harris. That is unusual, as February usually ranks as one of the poorest-performing months during the year. At last week’s council meeting, Harris reported that Cripple Creek casinos recorded a 7.8 percent increase in adjusted gross proceeds, far outpacing both Black Hawk and Central City on a percentage winning basis.

For example, Black Hawk encountered a slight decline in proceeds, compared to January numbers; while Central City experienced a full 2 percent decline.

Harris attributes this increase to the Cripple Creek Ice Festival, that brough many more people to town. The town was packed for two weekends, and the weather played a helping hand, with warm temps during the weekends and colder weather hitting the region during the week.  This made it easier for the ice sculpture artists to adjust their work.

By comparison, the two gaming communities near Denver recorded negative winning, compared to the previous month. For example, Black Hawk encountered a slight decline in proceeds, compared to January numbers; while Central City experienced a full 2 percent decline.

Adjusted gross proceeds represents what casinos take in, minus what they give out in prizes. In essence, these numbers represent what gamblers lose at local casinos.