January continues record-breaking run for Indiana sportsbook revenue

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Indiana sportsbooks opened 2021 by making January the fifth consecutive record-breaking month, taking nearly $350m and posting a new high in revenue. 

January’s strong showing, which came as neighboring Michigan launched its sports betting market, offers further evidence that Indiana is far from reaching its ceiling and capable of generating more than $3bn in bets in 2021, according to analysts from PlayIndiana.

“This will be a particularly important year for Indiana’s sports betting industry,” said Jessica Welman, analyst for PlayIndiana.com. “Illinois and Michigan, which were two feeder markets in the early days of sports betting in Indiana, will continue to grow. 

“And Ohio is moving toward regulating sports betting, too. So sportsbooks will increasingly have to rely on in-state bettors. That said, the market continues to prove more than capable of standing on its own.”

Indiana sportsbooks accepted $348.2m in January wagers, up 103.9% from $171m year-on-year, and topping the previous record of $313.1m set in December.

Wagering during the month also resulted in a record $29.3m in adjusted gross operator revenue, up from $12.2m in January 2019 and up from $24.1m in December. The month’s bets yielded $2.8m in state taxes.

The brisk start to the year offers a glimpse of what could come in 2021. If the growth continues through the year, the state could top $3bn in bets, more than $200m in revenue, and $20m in state taxes, according to PlayIndiana projections.

“Assuming we don’t have any interruptions in the sports schedule like in 2020, a new high is almost assured in 2021,” said Dustin Gouker, analyst for PlayIndiana.com. “The biggest question is how much higher? That depends in large part on how well the market responds to increasing competition from its neighbors.”

Historically across legal jurisdictions, including Indiana last year, January tends to be relatively flat with December. 

But a late start to the NBA season meant that January offered the first full month of games and college basketball settled into a more robust conference schedule after a relatively sparse non conference schedule. 

“Aside from the NFL’s expanded playoff, January was perhaps the most normal sports schedule since February 2020, offering our best gauge yet of where Indiana is as a market,” Welman said. 

“Even with increased competition from Michigan, which launched in late January, Indiana’s sportsbooks continue to perform well. Indiana’s significant interest in basketball differentiates the market from many in the US, and offers a positive sign for a market that is increasingly local.”

Online betting generated 85.1% of January’s handle, or $296.5m, which was up from 84% in December. DraftKings/Ameristar Casino accounted for 35.2% of the state’s January handle with $122.6m in bets, up from $112.7m in December. Those bets produced $9.4m in gross receipts, up from $5.1m in December. 

FanDuel/Blue Chip Casino was second with $89.2m in bets, up from $78.2m, which produced $8.2 million in gross receipts. Meanwhile, BetMGM/Belterra continues to make gains, accounting for 15.1% of the state’s handle with $52.4m, up from $41m in December. That yielded a $3.7m win, up from $2.9m.

Meanwhile, retail sportsbooks produced $51.7m in January wagers, up from $47.4m in January 2020. Hollywood Lawrenceburg, nearest Cincinnati, led the retail market with a $13.4m handle. Ameristar Casino was second with $9.6m, followed by Horseshoe Hammond with $7.4m.

“A year after launching, BetMGM has quietly become a major player in the state,” Gouker said. “DraftKings and FanDuel continue to be the dominant forces, but having more operators challenge the top is ultimately good for consumers.”