Indiana sportsbooks saw wagering action slow to less than $200m for the first time in nearly a year, although volume was still sufficient to push the state’s lifetime handle past $4bn — $3bn of which has come over the last 12 months.
July’s slowdown came during what is historically the month with the lowest sports betting volume in the US. It’s a pattern that continued even as the NBA Finals and the first week of the Olympics gave this July an unusually busy sports calendar, according to PlayIndiana which tracks the state’s gaming industry.
Online and retail sportsbooks took in $194.5m in bets in July, down 21% from $246.3m in June. Averaged out over the 31 days of the month, sportsbooks accepted $6.3m in wagers per day, down from $8.2m per day in June.
Gross gaming revenue remained relatively strong in July at $17.2m, down 35.6% from $26.7m, which equals an 8.9% hold. Adjusted gross revenue came in at $17.5m, yielding $1.7m in state taxes.
Jessica Welman, analyst for the PlayUSA.com network, which includes PlayIndiana.com, noted: “Sports betting is ultimately for entertainment, and this time of year it can take a backseat to long weekends at the lake or summer barbecues.
“With people traveling at an accelerated rate this summer, it appears that the trough is even more pronounced than usual. But July should be the low point, as bettors begin to return from their summer vacations in August and excitement builds for the upcoming football season.”
Indiana’s results are in line with historical trends. Removing the pandemic-altered numbers produced in 2020, the lowest-volume month across the US in both 2018 and 2019 was July.
Baseball topped all sports with $63.5m in wagering, up from $60.5m in June. The NBA Finals fueled $26.8m in basketball betting in July, which was down from $77.1m in June. Basketball has generated $896.9m in bets so far this year, more than any sport by far, and has been the most bet-on sport in every month since December 2020.
“Indiana’s love of basketball has helped shield the state’s sportsbooks from some of the more pronounced seasonal dips experienced in other states, so a smaller volume of games in July was felt,” said Nicole Russo, analyst for PlayIndiana.com.
She added: “Betting interest on the Olympics appears to have been modest at best, and even with the NBA Finals being later than usual, it wasn’t enough to overcome fewer games being on the board.”
July’s wagering was enough to push Indiana past another significant milestone, becoming the state with the smallest population — other than Nevada — to reach $4bn in lifetime handle.
Since sports betting launched in Indiana in September 2019, sportsbooks have generated $4.1bn in online and retail wagering, including $3bn since August 2020; $334.6m in gross gaming revenue; and $31.8m in state taxes.
“The market has changed significantly since launch, but from the beginning Indiana has punched above its weight class among US markets,” Welman said. “It remains a model market that states still considering the legalization of sports betting would be wise to emulate.”
Bettors made $174.6m in online wagers in July, accounting for 89.8% of all bets made in the state. Retail betting accounted for the remaining $19.9m in July, down from $27.9m in June.
DraftKings held on to its market lead in July with $60.2m in online wagering, down from $75.6m in June. July’s bets generated $4.7m in gross receipts, down from $6.2m in June. FanDuel closely trailed with $54.3m in July wagering, down from $64.2m in June. Those bets produced a market-best $5.3m in gross receipts, down from $9.1m.
Hollywood Lawrenceburg, nearest to Cincinnati and one of the highest-volume retail sportsbooks in the US, led retail books in Indiana with $5.9m in wagers, down from $9m in June. Ameristar East Chicago was second with $3m, narrowly topping $2.98m at Indiana Grand and $2.7m at Harrah’s Hoosier Park.
“Retail betting is still trying to bounce back to pre-pandemic levels, and news of a fresh surge in the pandemic is the latest challenge for the industry,” Russo said. “Online sportsbooks will continue to flourish in the state, but it’s apparently going to continue to be a hard road for the retail side.”