Indiana sportsbooks edged their way back to some form of normality in June, despite what was a typically early-summer lull, exacerbated by the continued hiatus of major American sports, according to sports betting analysts at PlayIndiana.
June’s $29.8m handle fell short by circa $145m of what would have been anticipated in the case of a full roster of summer sports, said PlayIndiana. But with an uptick in futures betting, major sports on the near horizon, and the reopening of retail casinos and sportsbooks, the industry still inched closer to normal.
Lead analyst Dustin Gouker commented: “June historically is a slow month for sports betting, but the return of major sports are huge for Indiana’s sportsbooks, obviously, and we already see the momentum with a boost in futures betting. A surge in betting should come as major sports move closer. In fact, with pent-up demand and truncated seasons that shorten the wait for a potential payout, futures betting could prove particularly enticing.”
June’s handle was down 20.1% from $37.3m in May, but up 13.3% from $26.3m in April. The month produced $2.9m in adjusted gross revenue, down 8.1% from $3.2m in May, and yielded $277,601 in tax revenue for the state.
Bets on the PGA Tour, auto racing, European soccer, hockey futures, and others – classified by Indiana simply as “other” than football, basketball, and baseball – produced $20.4m in June, down from $30.5m in May. But bets on the three major American team sports were up significantly – to $3.3m in June from $1.4m in May – fueled mostly by bets on baseball, which drew more than $2m alone.
“Sportsbooks have done an excellent job over the last few months in keeping bettors engaged with unconventional betting sports, but those sports can’t replace the loss of basketball and baseball,” said Jessica Welman, analyst for PlayIndiana.com. “But the return of baseball and basketball, and local interest with the return of the Indiana Pacers and Chicago-area teams, July should bring a big step toward recovery.”
With casinos reopening, June marked the return of retail sports betting. But that produced a relatively tiny $558,970 handle from in-person wagers, the first since March. A tepid reopening of in-person betting was expected with the sports world still trying to restart, but it is still an important milestone.
Gouker explained: “The reopening of the retail market is important not only because it means significant new revenue for operators, but it also signals that the gaming industry is on the mend. Many challenges lie ahead for the industry, and the revenue lost can’t instantly be replaced. But things are headed in the right direction.”
The online market accounted for 98%, or $29.1m, of June’s handle. DraftKings/Ameristar Casino led its online competitors with $18.2m in bets, down from $20.1m in May. That handle yielded $1.6m in gross receipts, down from $1.8m. FanDuel/Blue Chip Casino remained second with its $7.9m handle in June, down from $12.3m, resulting in an $839,056 win, down from $1.1m.
The state’s online market, though, could be facing stiffer competition after BetRivers launched Illinois’ first online sportsbook in June.
“The Illinois launch of BetRivers could keep some Chicagoans at home, cutting off what has been a profitable market for Indiana,” Welman said. “Indiana’s operators knew that day would come eventually, but it could slow down the near-term recovery for the state’s sports betting industry.”