By Rick Sallinger

BLACK HAWK, Colo. (CBS4) – Major League Baseball has announced it is coming back, but without fans in the stands. That’s good news though for sports betting in Colorado which started up while casinos and major sports were shut down due to the coronavirus.

(credit: CBS)

When voters approved sports betting, it was estimated to bring some $30 million in annual tax revenue to the state. But with casinos and sports events not operating the revenue stream hasn’t been able to reach its potential.

READ MORE: Colorado Department Of Labor Writing Off $61 Million In Overpayments Made During Pandemic

Marcus Rohrbaugh is Director of Gaming at the only in-person sports betting parlor in the state, the Saratoga Casino in Black Hawk. The casino has partnered with the British firm Betfred.

“It’s been slow there’s not a lot to bet on,” he said.

But now there is reason for enthusiasm.

(credit: CBS)

“We’re excited about baseball coming back, and we’re hearing basketball and hockey are also on their way back, so we’re excited to actually get some action going,” Rohrbaugh said.

The Rockies’ odds could depend on Charlie Blackmon’s health after testing positive for the coronavirus. The same goes for the Nuggets and Nikola Jokic.

Online sites have offered big incentives like $500 and $1,000 credits to whet the appetite.

READ MORE: COVID In Colorado: Denver Health Doctor Eager For New Pfizer Vaccine Authorization

The money the state brings in will go primarily toward water projects. So how does it work? Odds were already posted at Betfred to bet on the Broncos to win the Super Bowl next season… a long shot: 55-1.

CBS4’s Rick Sallinger decided risk was part of his paycheck to demonstrate.

“I would like to bet $5 on the Denver Broncos to win the Super Bowl. I don’t want to lose much money.”

(credit: CBS)

The ticket shows a good return.

“I get $280 if they win,” Sallinger noted. He then asked the clerk, “If they win the Super Bowl, do I come back here to collect?”

Yes, they replied.

“Alright, I will see you then,” he said with his goodbye.

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The Colorado Division of Gaming says even without major sports, $25 million was wagered during the month of May with online betting operating for a variety of less popular sports.

Rick Sallinger