How Will the Legalization of Sports Betting in Colorado impact on DFS?

Joel Bartilotta shares his initial experiences of sports betting since its legalization in his home state of Colorado and assesses the potential impacts it may have on DFS.

The development of betting in Colorado is obviously a slow one with the COVID-19 situation. With that said, there was $25.5 million wagered in Colorado in May, which was the opening month for betting here. That may sound like a big number but take into consideration that Nevada handled $5.32 billion in sports bets in 2019. Getting a $25 million handle the opening month is nothing to complain about though, especially with NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL all out of commission.

Almost all of the betting in Colorado has been through FanDuel and DraftKings, which is likely to continue. There are some talks about sportsbooks opening up in places like Black Hawk and Central City but that’s not necessarily accessible for many people in Colorado. As someone who lives in the burbs and only 45 minutes from Black Hawk, I’d much rather pull out my phone and wager on one of those DFS sites. That makes me wonder if there will be sportsbooks opening downtown or in more populated areas but that’s something that may be further down the line.

What you need to look out for is the handle when the NFL returns. The Denver Broncos are the star of the show in Colorado and it’ll be amazing to see what the handle looks like when they eventually return to play. It may also open up betting opportunities against the Broncos, simply because there’s going to be so much money on them every week here. A line that is 3.5 points here might be 2.5 in Vegas and that’s quite the middle you can snatch.

My Betting Experience

I’m not going to sugarcoat this and tell you that I’m some sharp bettor who pays their bills with sports gambling. I am however an experienced writer and an avid fantasy player, following sports religiously since I was 10-years-old. I actually play season-long fantasy as a means for supplemental income but I make most of my income by writing about sports. I have been writing for RotoWire since I graduated college in 2013 and I’ve also had gigs with sites like FantasyPros, Razzball, DFSR and Fantrax. This has given me vast experience in all three major sports and I consider myself an expert in MLB, NBA and NFL.

As someone who can tell you anything about almost any player in any sport, I can also tell you that sports betting and DFS are extremely difficult. There aren’t many people making their income on these activities and you’re much more likely to lose than win. I consider myself to be a decent bettor who will flirt with 50 percent but I’ve learned through experience that betting is not the most profitable way to make a living. I actually paid for college with my DFS winnings but that racket has become much harder over recent years as well.

DFS vs. Sports Betting

They say a professional sports bettor needs to hit on 53 percent of his bets to make money with the -110 lines and the best sports bettors in the world don’t even crack 60 percent. That’s some slim margins and the numbers in DFS might be even worse. The DFS community used to be a great place to make money 5-10 years ago but things have changed drastically since. The competition has become absolutely fierce over recent years and it makes it very tough to grind out profits. There are hundreds of sites out there and thousands of their players using their insane algorithms to gather up most of the profits and it’s left many of us in the dust. 

That has obviously made DFS a lot tougher over recent years and it may even force people’s hands into sports betting. Instead of competing against a guy with 150 lineups and outlandish tools at their hands, you find yourself betting against the book. That’s a far less daunting task for the casual bettor and it’s even more attractive when you consider the fact that there are so many sports betting props that mimic DFS strategies. That makes me believe that the sports betting in Colorado will outweigh the DFS playing in time and it’s very possible that it will become a regular occurrence across the country as well. There’s obviously a market for both to succeed but one has to wonder just how much longer DFS players will be willing to swim with the sharks.

What Can I Expect?

We already discussed that sports betting is on the rise and it’ll be amazing to see what the handle looks like when all three major sports are playing in September and October. That’s going to be an amazing time for all sports fans and it has the sportsbooks wagging their tails for that time to come. In fact, it might lead to a profitable time for us bettors. With so many sports going on at once, the lines might not be as sharp as they should be. There’s also some thought that the lines will be softer to get people’s feet into the door and that only adds intrigue for players like us. The advertising for FanDuel and DraftKings has been crazy in Colorado and that’s only going to increase once we get all of the sports back.

Walking into a sportsbook, placing a bet, having a beer and watching the game seems like an Inception-like dream but we may be closer than some think. The success in the opening months will determine how that will work out here in Colorado but if I were an investor, I would love to open up a sportsbook right in the middle of downtown. Property is a little cheaper right now with the COVID-19 situation and sports bettors will be itching to have the Vegas-like experience when everything returns to normal. An accessible sportsbook with all the goodies is something that can succeed in a growing city like Denver and it will be an absolute gold mine whenever someone pulls that trigger. 

I could honestly go on for hours talking about this whole situation but our goal here was to paint a picture on what it looks like in Colorado and what it may look like in the future. Getting it legalized was the first major step and it’ll be fun to see where it goes from here.

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