Table tennis scores with Colorado sports bettors


In the first seven months of legal sports betting in Colorado, table tennis has consistently featured on the list of the top five most popular sports to bet on each month. In November alone, the sport generated $ 12.4 million in bets, behind professional and college football in betting popularity.

In May, when sports betting began and few other sports were played, the success of table tennis was not so surprising. But why is it still such a success?

Angelo Gandullia, who played table tennis professionally in Germany and now heads the Denver Table Tennis Alliance, can answer this question.

“When people see for the first time in their lives how this sport is really played and what it takes to play it at a competitive level, I think people get hooked,” says Gandullia, whose neighborhood club from Curtis Park is open six days a week. during non-COVID times. “Most of the time, they’re just fascinated by the pace. Table tennis is the fastest-moving Olympic sport, and it takes serious training to keep up to that pace. It’s a demanding sport. a lot of hand-eye coordination which is really the whole body. And a lot of footwork. You have to be really strong to crouch all the time. ”

The intensity of table tennis often surprises newcomers. “They never saw it coming,” says Gandullia. “They usually imagine the basement ping-pong, a kid hitting back and forth with grandpa, passing the ball nicely and easily. But that’s not the point of the sport.”

Maybe not for Gandullia. But you don’t have to approach the sport with intensity, according to Evan Frankel, a Boulder resident who admits to betting on table tennis.

“Sports betting can be a game of chance or a game of skill. For me, Russian table tennis was a game of chance,” Frankel explains. “The first Colorado legal sports bet I placed was on table tennis. It was just an opportunity, because nothing else was at stake.”

Frankel generally enjoys playing soccer and admits that he doesn’t find watching table tennis invigorating.

“I don’t care if my 50-cent bet on a ping-pong match is lost. When that 50-cent can turn into $ 6.70, I’m not retiring on that, but I’m kidding,” he explains. he does. “I’m having fun during a pandemic, and it’s worth it to me.”

And since table tennis takes place halfway around the world, there are usually games to bet on when few games are played in that hemisphere.

When legal sports betting began in May, punters were able to bet on Ukrainian table tennis for a few weeks, until regulators in many states removed it from betting portfolios over concerns about the integrity of the game. Thu. Moscow’s La Liga Pro is now the main table tennis betting option for Colorado players, but although it has remained on the safe side of state regulators, some outlets remain wary. For example, Monarch Casino at Black Hawk does not offer La Liga Pro Moscow betting due to match-fixing issues.

“Am I worried about this?” Frankel asks, then replies, “No, I find that funnier than anything else.”

In November, sports betting in Colorado totaled $ 231 million in bets, most of which was made on one of twelve mobile betting apps rather than in casinos. the state has raised about $ 794,000 in taxes, and most of that money will go to the Colorado Water Plan under the terms of the DD proposal, which voters approved in 2019.

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