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Indiana the Latest to Report Legal Sports Betting Slide in June

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Indiana the Latest to Report Legal Sports Betting Slide in June
Notre Dame Stadium on November 7, 2020 in South Bend, Indiana. Matt Cashore-Pool/Getty Images/AFP

The US legal sports betting industry looks as though it is in for a very tough June. Five jurisdictions have reported their overall handles already and all five have shown declines in their overall sports wagering activity. This after an almost equal split between jurisdictions that experienced handle losses in May versus the ones that saw a rise in their overall sports betting activity.

On Monday, it was Indiana’s turn to report their legal sports betting downturn. But just like Iowa, Indiana’s figures aren’t all bad news. The trend of states reporting handle decreases coupled with revenue increases was extended to Indiana, mitigating some of the losses experienced with their overall handle.

The Handle

Indiana followed the lead of Iowa, which reported their June sports betting figures at the end of last week. The Hoosier State, just like the Buckeye State posted an identical 3.2% decline in their overall sports betting handle.

Indiana’s sportsbooks took in a still-respectable $246.3 million in legal sports betting wagers in June, down from the $254.4 million reported in May and $102 million off the record $348.2 million Indiana sportsbooks took in during their record-January haul.

Revenues and Tax Contributions

There has been an interesting trend that has developed within the US legal sports betting scene in the last couple of months. It seems that states that post a handle decrease report a revenue rise and vice versa. It happened in Iowa in June and a host of jurisdictions in May. Monday’s figures officially added Indiana to the list.

Gross gaming revenues for the Indiana legal sports betting scene came in at $25.5 million, which represents a healthy 35.1% increase from the $18.9 million that the state’s sportsbooks made in May. It could be largely due to the high 10.3% hold rate for the Indiana sports betting industry, which is a major spike from the 7.4% hold rate from May.

Tax contributions to state and local coffers also increased 35.1%, thanks to the increase in revenues. Tax programs in the Hoosier State benefitted to the tune of $2.4 million from the state’s legal sports betting platform.

June’s Drivers

As per usual, it was Indiana’s online sports betting platform that dominated the state’s overall handle. $224 million of the overall $246.3 million handle (91%) came from internet-based bets. That’s down 4.3% from the $234 million spent with Indiana’s betting apps in May.

Basketball continued to be the most bet-on sports in Indiana in June with a $77 million contribution. But its reign as the biggest sports driver may be coming to an end with the impending conclusion of the pro hoops season. It is unclear which other sport will step up in basketball’s absence to fill the void.

Baseball was the second most popular sport in Indiana with a total of $60.4 million in bets, an intriguing 19% month-to-month increase, $58.8 million was spent on parlay betting, $1.5 million was spent on football and $52.0 million was spent betting on “other sports”.

July and August

While concerning that the legal sports betting industry in Indiana is already in a slump, it could be nothing compared to what may happen during the dogdays of summer, July and August. Perhaps the Olympics will provide a spark for the industry or perhaps baseball may keep building interest momentum.

But a significant rebound isn’t expected until September when the NFL season is in full swing and dominating betting menus once again. Despite the two DFS-turned legal sports betting giants posting reasonable numbers, theScore Bet holding their own and the Barstool Sportsbook raising its profile since launch in mid-May, Indiana is in line for a couple more months of unflattering handles.

September couldn’t come soon enough for Indiana and the broader US legal sports betting scene. The good news is that fall, and the NFL season is only a couple months away.