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Indiana Smashes its Sports Betting Record in October

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Donaven McCulley #0 of the Indiana Hoosiers looks to throw a second half pass while playing the Michigan Wolverines. Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images via AFP.

State sports betting handle records continue to fall with Indiana becoming the latest to set a new bar in October.

The fall sports betting surge in the US continues. Three participating states have reported their October hauls, and all have set new high-water marks for their respective wagering scenes. The latest is Indiana, a state that set an all-time record in September only to smash that number in October.

The US legal sports betting industry is experiencing the perfect storm to close out 2021. Three of the four major North American sports are in full swing and the fourth concluded its season on November 2. “Five full weekends of the NFL and college football, the opening of the NBA season, and baseball’s postseason gave sportsbooks a rare convergence of betting inventory in October,” said Jake Garza, an analyst for PlayIndiana.com.

Sports fans and bettors in Indiana and around the country took advantage.

Eye-popping numbers

Indiana sportsbooks surpassed the $400 million handle mark for the first time in October. Not only did the state’s retail and online sports betting operators surpass the milestone, but the state also flew past the mark. In all, Indiana racked up $461.1 million in bets in October. That number represents an incredible 29.7 percent spike from Indiana’s September record of $355.4 million in sports wagers. It nearly doubles October 2020’s total of $230.9 million.

Nearly $15 million per day was taken in by Indiana’s sportsbooks, up from $11.8 million per day in September. It’s double the $7.4 million spent at the state’s sportsbooks in October 2020.

“To surpass the previous record by so much shows an increasing base of bettors, too. It’s hard to imagine a better start to the football season than what has happened in the last two months,” Garza added.

Revenues don’t follow suit

Unfortunately for Indiana sportsbooks, the exploding handle didn’t result in a spike in revenues. Sportsbook profits fell 18.3 percent month-to-month, from a record $33.9 million in September to $27.7 million in October.

Year-over-year, revenues were up 26.4 percent. Indiana reported $21.9 million in sportsbook profits for October 2020.

Tax contributions from Indiana’s sports betting scene fell along with revenues. A total of $2.63 million in taxes was paid in October. That’s down 18.7 percent from the record $3.2 million in September.

Drivers of the record handle

The Indiana scene was buoyed by its already elite mobile sports betting platform. Nearly $412 million of the overall $461.1 million handle, or 89.3 percent came from mobile apps. The $411.9 million in mobile bets is up 26.1 percent from the previous high-water mark of $326.6 million in September for a new state record.

A respectable $40 million came from Indiana’s emerging retail sector.

Football betting jumped 18.4 percent month-to-month and contributed $175.8 million toward the overall handle, basketball contributed $53.5 million, up from just $5.2 million in September. Parlays were responsible for $127.6 million in October and were up from $92 million in September.

Lifetime numbers

Indiana figures have been nothing short of remarkable since coming into the US legal sports betting family in 2019. With October’s numbers, Indiana became just the fifth state to surpass the $5 billion lifetime handle along with New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Illinois. The state’s sportsbooks have taken in $5.1 billion so far, with $412.5 million in gross revenue. They have contributed $78.3 million in tax revenue for the state.

“No state has capitalized on its potential as a sports betting market better than Indiana,” said Eric Ramsey, an analyst for the PlayUSA.com Network, which includes PlayIndiana.com. “As impressive as some of these records have been, it is also important to remember that Indiana as a market still hasn’t fully matured.”

The future looks brighter?

Analysts have continued to marvel about the fact that the Indiana market is still growing. “New operators are still investing in Indiana, which is evidence that there is still significant upside in the state,” Garza said. “The environment has changed significantly over the last two years, but Indiana continues to flourish even as its larger neighbors adopt sports betting.”

At least three more operators are slated to enter the Indiana market before the end of 2021. Included on that list are SBK Sportsbook, Fubo Sportsbook and Bally Bet. That would make 15 top-tier providers operating in the competitive Indiana market.

The next milestone for the Indiana legal sports betting industry is a $500 million month. That number seemed to be a stretch only a couple of months ago; however, with the skyrocketing activity seen during the first two months of the NFL season, and with basketball contributing on a regular basis to Indiana’s overall numbers, a half-billion monthly handle may be closer than many think. Stay tuned.

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