Indiana sportsbooks enjoyed a record-shattering October, setting highs in revenue and handle, as bettors were spurred by local interest in the NFL and the return of Big Ten football. In a month that resembled a normal sports schedule more than any month since the pandemic began, October’s handle was more than $230 million, a sign that Indiana’s recent gains are sustainable, according to analysts from PlayIndiana.
“With a schedule that was more comparable to an ordinary October, Indiana’s sportsbooks fared well and offered a clearer read on where Indiana’s market stands,” said Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for PlayIndiana.com. “Interest in the Indianapolis Colts, Indiana University, and Notre Dame is helping as the state transitions from a market that relies on Chicago to one that is more reliant on local bettors.”
Without a once-in-a-lifetime schedule to drive interest, as was the case in September, bettors still made $230.9 million in bets in October, according to official reporting released Tuesday. That breaks the record $207.5 million hit in September and is up 151.8% from $91.7 million in October 2019.
October’s bets also produced a record $21.1 million in adjusted gross revenue for the state’s operators. That is up 82.9% from $11.5 million in October 2019 and easily surpassing the record $14.3 million in revenue generated in September. The month’s revenue yielded $2 million in taxes in October.
Indiana has now generated $1.6 billion in bets since launching in September 2019, but the state was topped in September by both Colorado and Illinois to fall to sixth. However, the state is becoming less reliant on the Chicago market. Bets on the Colts and the surprising Hoosiers fueled $84.7 million in bets on football. That more than offset the losses of betting inventory in basketball, which drew $10.8 million in bets, and baseball, which chipped in $26.6 million in wagers.
And sportsbooks continue to be imaginative with the types of bets they offer, including offering odds on the Halloween Candy Bowl, a professional candy eating contest held in Las Vegas in late October.
“The market continues to sustain itself by being innovative, which is going to be critical as competition from neighboring states such as Illinois and Michigan increases,” said Jessica Welman, analyst for PlayIndiana.com. “Wringing a few extra dollars from Joey Chestnut downing candy corn might not be a game-changer on its own. But it is a sign of a larger strategy by sportsbooks to diversify their boards in interesting ways.”
Online betting generated 83.6%, or $193 million, of October’s handle. That is up slightly from 83.5% in September. William Hill launched its online sportsbook, but DraftKings/Ameristar Casino continued to easily lead Indiana’s online market with $90.5 million in bets, up from $83.5 million in September. October’s wagers led to $8.6 million in gross receipts, up from $3.2 million September.
The online market leader was followed by:
- FanDuel/Blue Chip Casino ($63.6 million handle, up from $56.5 million; $7.1 million in gross receipts, up from $2.3 million.
- BetMGM/Belterra ($20.1 million handle, up from $13.2 million; $1.8 million win, up from $1.3 million)
- BetRivers/French Lick Resort ($7.8 million handle, up from $6.2 million; $632,752 win, up from $340,387 )
- PointsBet/Hollywood Lawrenceburg ($7.1 million handle, up from $6.2 million; $862,865 win, up from $281,042)
- Unibet/Horseshoe Hammond ($1.8 million handle, up from $624,525; $188,558 win, up from -$28,340)
- BetAmerica/Rising Star Casino ($189,108 handle, up from $88,832; -$10,016 win, down from $13,565)
- Caesars/Horseshoe Hammond ($403,136 handle, down from $494,622; $31,182 win, up from -$13,954)
- TheScore/Ameristar ($1.5 million handle, up from $407,678 handle; $123,494, up from $44,130 win)
- William Hill ($149,897 handle; $65,406 win)
Retail sportsbooks continued to make gains, combining for a $37.9 million handle in October, up from $34.3 million in September. Hollywood Lawrenceburg, nearest Cincinnati, led retail books with a $11.5 million handle, up from $9.9 million in September.
“Indiana is among the largest markets that DraftKings holds an advantage over rival FanDuel, leveraging its early entry last year into market dominance,” Welman said. “Even as competition has grown, including the entry of William Hill to the market, the top of the online sportsbook food chain has remained remarkably stable.”
Online casino update
Indiana is also inching closer to online casino games, too. Sen. Jon Ford is pushing for legislation next year that would legalize online gambling in the state and give a boost to the state’s gaming industry.
The draft bill proposes a 15% tax rate and would initially authorize 14 casinos and racinos among other proposals
“Indiana built a regulatory framework that has been successful for sportsbooks, and I am confident it can do so again with online casinos,” Gouker said. “The process is still in its infancy, but online gaming offers hope to a casino industry that has been hit hard by the pandemic.”
The PlayUSA.com Network is a leading source for news, analysis, and research related to the market for regulated online gaming in the United States. With a presence in over a dozen states, PlayUSA.com and its state-focused branches produce daily original reporting, publish in-depth research, and offer player advocacy tools related to the advancement of safe, licensed, and legal online gaming options for consumers. Based in Las Vegas, the PlayUSA Network is independently owned and operated, with no affiliations to any casino — commercial, tribal, online, or otherwise.