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Indiana Provides US Sports Betting Industry Much Needed Boost

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Indiana Provides US Sports Betting Industry Much Needed Boost
Indiana Farmers Coliseum on March 21, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Maddie Meyer/Getty Images/AFP

The industry-wide bounce back for the US legal sports betting industry could be starting early if the August numbers out of Indiana are any indication. Known as one of the most reliable legal sports betting states in the nation, Indiana, just like the rest of the participating jurisdictions in the US has experienced a long, dry summer.

On Friday, the Indiana Gaming Commission released their August numbers and for the first time in four months, an increase in overall handle was reported. Revenues dropped slightly but the overall betting activity rise is almost certainly an indication that the worst is behind Indiana until next summer and that a dramatic sports betting increase is on the horizon. It also shows just how important just the mention of football can positively affect the US legal sports betting industry.

“Even though preseason games are typically low-volume affairs, there was particular interest in the Colts this August because of the addition of quarterback Carson Wentz,” Nicole Russo, analyst for PlayIndiana.com said. “Add in a light schedule of college football, and there was just enough to draw a significant amount of football wagers. Still, September’s full college schedule and opening weeks of the NFL should dwarf anything we saw in August.”

“Even a little bit of football can make a big difference in a month,” said Eric Ramsey, analyst for the PlayUSA.com Network, which includes PlayIndiana.com. “The schedule was still relatively light compared to the fall, but it is a great sign that August brought a nice bounce in wagering.”

Getting Into the Figures

The Indiana legal sports betting industry was bound to experience an increase in sports betting activity after bottoming out to its first sub-$200 million performance this year in August.

The Indiana sports betting scene saw $215.6 million spent at the state’s sportsbooks in August, which represents a 10.8% increase from the $194.5 million reported in July. Per day betting jumped to $7 million in August from $5.5 million per day in July.

August’s totals, while encouraging are nearly $135 million off the record $348.2 million handle reported in January.

Revenues, unfortunately, didn’t enjoy the same success as the overall handle in Indiana. Thanks to an underwhelming 7.6% hold, sportsbooks in the state made just $16.5 million in August – a 5.2% drop from the $17.4 million in July.

State and local coffers benefitted to the tune of $1.6 million from the profits.

Handle Drivers

Indiana’s overall legal sports betting scene has traditionally been reliant on a stout mobile platform. Betting apps in August didn’t disappoint, delivering $195.2 million of the overall $215.6 million handle, or about 90.5%.

As far as sports go, it was baseball that drove Indiana’s overall sports betting handle. Baseball contributed $68.3 million in bets, with football making an appearance in the top-5 for the first time since February. Football contributed $13.9 million. “Other sports” which included Olympics was responsible for $43.1 million.

Parlays were the overall winner as far as handle drivers in Indiana in August. $82.4 million was spent on parlays in the state in August.

At the End of the Day…

Indiana has come through the worst of COVID-19 and the summer in decent shape. Nicole Russo, analyst for PlayIndiana.com commented that: “With the pandemic, sports betting has not always traveled the smoothest road. Still, Indiana’s industry is maturing more quickly than anyone could have expected, especially considering the obstacles. And the growth is not done. Expect more revenue and wagering records to fall over the next few months.”

It has been 24 months since Indiana went live with its platform and the total numbers are impressive. $4.3 billion has been wagered in the state so far, $351.3 million in gross sports betting revenue has been reported and state and local coffers have benefitted to the tune of $33.4 million in taxes in just two years.

Indiana’s legal sports betting scene is about to experience an immense explosion with the start of the NFL season. When the basketball season starts, the numbers figure to be off the charts. Expect some competition for Indiana’s top-6 spot on the list of most successful betting states in the nation from newcomers Arizona, Louisiana and New York. But at the end of the day, Indiana should be able to maintain its status as a solid “second-tier” legal sports betting jurisdiction.