For the first time, Indiana sportsbooks reached $250m in wagers in a month, as local bettors continued to put money on the NFL and college football teams of the state, according to PlayIndiana analysts.
Sportsbooks approved $251.4m in bets in November, buoyed by continued interest in the Indianapolis Colts, as well as particular interest in Notre Dame and Indiana football. Indiana sportsbooks have set a state record for monthly handling for the third consecutive month, beating October’s $230.9 million strike.
Wagering generated a record $25.3m in adjusted gross income for state operators in November, up 20 percent from the $21.1m record set in October, and yielded $2.4m in state taxes. The Indiana handle rose 70.7 percent year-on-year from $147.3 million in November 2019, while gross sales soared 172.4 percent from $9.3 million in November 2019.
Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for PlayIndiana.com said: “Indiana has largely managed to shrug off increased competition from its neighbors, which is a good sign for the future of the state’s industry. A lot has gone right in recent months to get Indiana to this new high point, but considering the challenges, it has been an impressive string of months.”
The gains also helped Indiana regain its position in October, ahead of Colorado, but behind New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Illinois, as the fifth largest market in the US. And the results from November should be enough to remain in that place.
Jessica Welman, analyst for PlayIndiana.com said: “I think some of the worries that Indiana would slip as its neighbours legalized sports betting are calming. The market in the Hoosier State is proving to be quite dynamic.”
One aspect that the Hoosier State has been able to develop is to raise the interest in local football. Both Notre Dame and Indiana University are among the best of college football, and the Colts are continuing their push into the NFL playoffs.
The result has been a boom in football bets, reaching $113.5 million in November, an increase of 33.9 percent from $84.7 million in October and up 96.5 percent from $57.7 million in November 2019. Basketball was a distant second with $17.7m in November bets, with only a sliver of the college basketball season to fuel interest.
“There really isn’t any substitute in sports betting for a local team doing well, and Indiana is enjoying three at once,” Gouker said. “And with both college and NBA basketball returning, a sport that enjoys particular interest in Indiana compared with most other legal jurisdictions, December really sets up to be another jump forward.”
85 percent, or $213.7 million, of the November handle was created by online betting, raising the share of all bets from 83.6 percent in October. DraftKings/Ameristar Casino continued its digital market domination, raising its bets from $90.5m in October to $95.2m in November. In gross receipts, those bets produced $7m down from $8.6m in October.
In November wagers, retail sportsbooks took in $37.7m, marginally down from $37.9m in October. The advent of online sportsbooks in Illinois was most felt in the retail market of Indiana. In November, retail sportsbooks were run by Hollywood Lawrenceburg, nearest to Cincinnati, once dominated by sportsbooks near Chicago.
In November, Hollywood Lawrenceburg’s $11.6 m handle was more than the combined No. 2 Ameristar Casino ($6.3 m) and No. 3 Horseshoe Hammond ($4.9 m) state handle.
Welman concluded: “Chicago is still an important market for sportsbooks near the border, but the combination of Illinois’ sports-betting expansion and the pandemic has challenged the retail market.
“As a whole, though, growth in online betting has more than made up for any slowdown in the retail market. And Indiana made last-minute protocol changes to keep casinos open while properties in surrounding states shut down, which has helped the industry.”