Legal sports betting in the state of Indiana has been a revelation in its first year of existence. The relatively small state has consistently ranked in the top 5 bet-friendly states in the nation and as of September 1, the anniversary of its legal sports betting launch, it had generated an impressive $1.2 billion in wagers and an estimated $9 million in state tax revenue, according to PlayIndiana.com.
The month of August represented a huge jump in betting handle for the Hoosier State, one that allowed it to surpass the $1 billion mark. With three major sports, including Indiana’s bread-and-butter basketball running throughout August, it is little wonder that the state was able to report such a tangible late-summer rebound. August also allowed the industry to strike an optimistic tone – that the industry could finally be turning the COVID-19 corner.
“A rebound was inevitable with such an active sports schedule in August but seeing such a busy month is awfully welcome news for Indiana’s sports betting industry,” said Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for PlayIndiana.com. “August’s results are a clear signal that we are turning the page on its darkest days.”
A Deeper Dive Into the Numbers
According to figures released on Friday, Indiana’s sports betting handle for the month of August came in at an impressive $169,018,238 – a month-over-month 138.5% increase over July’s $70,876,622 in bets taken in. From that came betting revenues of $9,834,881 which is up 47.7% from $6,658,465 in July.
The August numbers represent a near-full recovery of the betting industry to pre-COVID levels and the third-best handle the state has taken in since legalization. Prior to shutdowns, Indiana hit a record monthly handle when it took in $187.2 million overall in February. With all four major North American sports about to be running simultaneously, it is conceivable that Indiana starts recording record-highs starting this month.
Mobile Continues to Carry the Ball
Indiana’s legal sports betting handle in its first year has been buoyed by its strong mobile platform, and has been since Day 1. Mobile betting in August alone contributed $143,900,567 of the $169,018,238 total – 85% of the betting dollars the state took in. That also represents an impressive increase over July -a 122.9% rise from July’s $64,545,921.
Plenty of Competition to Keep Indiana’s Momentum Going
Legal betting providers have identified Indiana as one of the more reliable states since they launched September 1, 2019. Since launch date, some of the biggest providers on the scene have lined up for their shot at the Indiana scene.
Currently, BetAmerica, BetMGM, BetRivers, Caesars, the two DFS giants, PointsBet (which signed on as Official Betting Partner of the NBA’s Indiana Pacers) and Unibet are live in the state with TheScore Bet and even possible Penn National looking at The Hoosier State as their next destination.
A Bit of Bad News
Indiana’s August was propped up by $55.2 million in bets taken in by the NBA – a sport that will wrap up in September. Big Ten College Football is on hold for the time being and the College Basketball season looks far from a lock to start on time.
Illinois, a state that Indiana had benefitted from in the past has gone live with their own legal sports betting platform. Indiana sports betting provider will no longer be able to depend on Illinois bettors to cross state lines and place a bet – something that will also affect Indiana’s bottom line.
“An Illinois expansion of online betting could really affect Indiana. In that case, the state’s sportsbooks will have to be creative in attracting new bettors within the state to help blunt the loss of the Chicago market,” said Jessica Welman, analyst for PlayIndiana.com.
Indiana is an established Heavyweight in the US legal betting scene. Their handles will continue to rise, particularly with the NFL season now in full swing. Indiana will still be able to draw from Ohio and Kentucky – states that haven’t yet been able to launch their own legal sports betting platform.
Catching Nevada, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania is obviously too much to ask based on population alone but any improvement on their pre-COVID numbers will keep Indiana in the upper-echelon of legal betting states.