Indiana sportsbooks surpassed $250m in wagers in a month for the first time — as local bettors continued to put money on the state’s NFL and college football teams, according to analysts from PlayIndiana.
Buoyed by continued interest in the Indianapolis Colts, as well as particular interest in Notre Dame and Indiana football, sportsbooks accepted $251.4m in bets in November. That marks the third consecutive month Indiana sportsbooks have set a state record for monthly handle, topping $230.9m hit in October.
Wagering in November produced a record $25.3m in adjusted gross revenue for the state’s operators, up 20% from the record $21.1m set in October, and yielded $2.4m in state taxes. Year-on-year, Indiana’s handle grew 70.7% from $147.3m in November 2019 while gross revenue jumped 172.4% from $9.3m.
“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,” said Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for PlayIndiana.com. “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 reclaim its position in October as the fifth-largest market in the US, ahead of Colorado, but behind New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Illinois. And November’s results should be enough to stay in that position.
“I think some of the worries that Indiana would slip as its neighbors legalized sports betting are calming,” said Jessica Welman, analyst for PlayIndiana.com. “The market in the Hoosier State is proving to be quite dynamic.”
One way the Hoosier State has been able to improve is a boost in local football interest. Notre Dame and Indiana University are both among college football’s elite, and the Colts continue their drive toward the NFL playoffs.
The result has been a swell of football bets, hitting $113.5m in November, a rise of 33.9% from $84.7m in October and up 96.5% from $57.7m in November 2019. With only a sliver of college basketball season to drive interest, basketball was a distant second with $17.7m in November bets.
“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.”
Online betting generated 85%, or $213.7m, of November’s handle, increasing the share of all bets from 83.6% in October. DraftKings/Ameristar Casino continued its dominance of the digital market, increasing its bets to $95.2m in November from $90.5m in October. Those bets produced $7m in gross receipts, down from $8.6m in October.
Retail sportsbooks took in $37.7m in November wagers, down slightly from $37.9m in October. The emergence of Illinois’ online sportsbooks has been felt most in Indiana’s retail market. Once dominated by sportsbooks nearest Chicago, retail sportsbooks were led in November by Hollywood Lawrenceburg, nearest Cincinnati.
Hollywood Lawrenceburg’s $11.6m handle in November was more than the combined handle of state No. 2 Ameristar Casino ($6.3m) and No. 3 Horseshoe Hammond ($4.9m).
“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,” Welman said. “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.”