Indiana sportsbooks used the return of the NFL to launch into new territory in September, surpassing $200m in bets in a single month for the first time, as well as producing record operator revenue, and passing $100m in combined revenue since launching in September 2019.
In doing so, the Hoosier State shook off the growing challenge from neighboring Illinois in the pecking order for US sports betting markets, according to PlayIndiana analysts.
Bettors wagered $207.5m in September, shattering Indiana’s previous record of $187.2m set in February. September’s result is up 489% from the $35.2m handle the industry posted in September 2019, the first month of legal sports betting in the state.
In terms of September bets, they produced $14.3m in adjusted gross revenue for the state’s operators, up 66.9% from $8.6m in September 2019 and topping the previous record $12.2m set in January.
Jessica Welman, an analyst for PlayIndiana.com said: “Indiana has benefitted from Illinois’ relatively slow launch and its inconsistency with in-person registration requirements, buying Indiana time to continue to capitalize on the Chicago market.
“Indiana’s balanced regulatory framework remains attractive to operators, which has kept the market on relatively firm footing, too. Those factors were key in kicking off the football season in record fashion.”
Since launch, sportsbooks have now generated $109.4m in revenue and $10.4m in state taxes after injecting $1.4m in September. Last month’s totals should keep Indiana in fourth place nationally, ahead of Illinois, which produced $139.8m in August, and Colorado.
Football betting was paramount, attracting $48.4m in bets even with the Big 10 football season postponed, as bettors flocked to bet on the Indianapolis Colts.
Welman added: “The strong start to the season by the Colts has undoubtedly spiked interest in football betting. With Big 10 football planning a return this month, and assuming the Colts remain a contender, sportsbooks are suddenly eyeing a particularly busy fall.”
Online betting generated 83.5%, or $173.2m, of September’s handle. DraftKings/Ameristar Casino topped the online market again with $89.4m in bets, up from $73.7m in August. September’s wagers led to $3.2m in gross receipts.
Meanwhile, retail sportsbooks are inching toward normalization, combining for a $34.3m handle in September. Hollywood Lawrenceburg‘s $9.9m handle topped retail books.
Dustin Gouker, the lead analyst for PlayIndiana.com, said: “Even with challenges ahead, Indiana’s sports betting industry has the potential for more growth.
“The market is still just 13 months old. And many of the advantages that made Indiana an instant success — including strong support of local teams such as the Colts, and easy access to large markets such as Cincinnati and Louisville — will remain for the foreseeable future.”
An even more reliable revenue driver could be on the way, too, after State Senator Jon Ford promised a new effort next year to legalize online casino gambling in the state.
Gouker added: “Online casino gambling has enormous potential to generate revenue for the state, and its legalization would almost certainly stem any slowdown in sports betting caused by increased competition from Indiana’s neighbors.
“With a maturing online sports betting market, Indiana already has a strong infrastructure in place to quickly ramp up. That would put the market on the path of success.”