NFL Return Helps Indiana’s Sportsbook October Trading

Thanks to record October trading, sales and handling in Indiana’s sportsbooks advanced to new heights as bettors were spurred by local interest in the NFL and the return of Big Ten football.

According to PlayIndiana analysts, in a month that resembled a regular sports schedule more than any month since the pandemic started, October’s handle was over $230 million, an indication that Indiana’s recent gains are sustainable.

Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for PlayIndiana.com said: “With a schedule that was more comparable to an ordinary October, Indiana’s sportsbooks fared well and offered a clearer read on where Indiana’s market stands.

“Interest in the Indianapolis Colts, Indiana University, and Notre Dame is helping as the state transitions from a market that relies on Chicago to one that is more reliant on local bettors.”

Without a once-in-a-lifetime schedule to fuel interest, bettors nevertheless made $230.9 m in bets in October, eclipsing September’s $207.5 m record and up 151.8 percent from $91.7 m year-on-year, as was the case in September.

October bets also generated a record $21.1 million in adjusted gross income for state operators, up 82.9 percent from $11.5 million in October 2019 and comfortably surpassing the record $14.3 million in September revenue generated. In October, the month ‘s revenue yielded $2 m in taxes.

Since launching in September 2019, Indiana has now raised $1.6bn in bets, but both Colorado and Illinois topped the state in September to fall to sixth. The state is becoming less dependent on the Chicago market, however.

$84.7 m in football bets is fuelled by bets on the Colts and the unexpected Hoosiers. That more than offset the losses in basketball betting stock, which attracted bets of $10.8 million, and baseball, which chipped in wagers of $26.6 million.

And, with the types of bets they make, sportsbooks continue to be imaginative, including providing betting on the Halloween Candy Bowl, a professional candy eating contest held in late October in Las Vegas.

“The market continues to sustain itself by being innovative, which is going to be critical as competition from neighboring states such as Illinois and Michigan increases,” said Jessica Welman, analyst for PlayIndiana.com.

“Wringing a few extra dollars from Joey Chestnut downing candy corn might not be a game-changer on its own. But it is a sign of a larger strategy by sportsbooks to diversify their boards in interesting ways.”

October’s handle generated 83.6 percent, or $193 million, of online betting. From 83.5 percent in September, that is up marginally. The online sportsbook was introduced by William Hill, but with $90.5 m in bets, DraftKings / Ameristar Casino continued to comfortably lead Indiana’s online market, up from $83.5 m in September. The wagers in October contributed to gross receipts of $8.6 m , up from $3.2 m in September.

In October, retail sportsbooks managed to make gains, combining for a $37.9 m grip, up from $34.3 m in September. The nearest Cincinnati, Hollywood Lawrenceburg, led retail books with a $11.5 m handle, up from $9.9 m in September.

Welman continued: “Indiana is among the largest markets that DraftKings holds an advantage over rival FanDuel, leveraging its early entry last year into market dominance. Even as competition has grown, including the entry of William Hill to the market, the top of the online sportsbook food chain has remained remarkably stable.”