Posted on: December 10, 2020, 11:57h.
Last updated on: December 10, 2020, 11:49h.
Indiana once again reported a record-breaking monthly sports betting handle, with the Midwestern state breaking the quarter-billion dollar barrier for the first time. And even as competition from neighboring states emerges, an industry analyst and a gaming executive believe the Hoosier state market still has plenty of room for growth.
The state’s casinos, racinos, off-track betting parlors, and mobile sports betting apps reported a combined handle of $251.4 million for November, according to data released by the Indiana Gaming Commission on Thursday. That’s an increase of about $20.5 million from the October handle, which itself was the previous high-water mark.
Mobile sports apps handled 85 percent of all money wagered last month.
Since the resumption of major professional and college sports in July, Indiana sports betting has picked up where it left off from before the COVID-19 pandemic. November’s record-setting handle marked the fifth straight month of increase betting on sports in the state. And the last three monthly handles each set new records.
The hold of 10.1 percent is the highest since sportsbooks reported a margin of 12.5 percent in October 2019. The high margin may likely be due to futures wagers placed on pro and college football teams as well as college basketball teams. While sportsbooks report those bets in the handle now, they cannot report revenue until those seasons conclude.
A detailed breakdown of handle by licensee is included in the map below.
Growth Fueled by Increased Awareness, Acceptance
During its first year after legalizing sports betting, Indiana served as the fourth largest legal US market. Its handles trailed only Nevada, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. The emergence of sportsbooks in Colorado and Illinois have since given Indiana competition for that spot. Neighboring Illinois supplanted them in September when that state’s books broke the $300 million handle mark. In addition, Michigan, Indiana’s neighbor to the north plans to allow online sports betting in the coming weeks.
Prior to Illinois launching sports betting earlier this year, bettors in that state, primarily in the Chicago market, were key customers for Indiana’s sports betting apps and sportsbooks in the northwest corner. However, even as the Chicago market appears to dry up for Indiana, the state’s licensees are still making gains.
DraftKings, Indiana’s top sportsbook by handle, reported its best month in Indiana last month with a handle of $95.2 million. FanDuel, the second-largest, also reported its best handle with $64.2 million wagered.
David Isaacson serves as vice president of Spectrum Gaming Capital, a gaming industry research and consulting group, he told Casino.org in an interview that the increase in handle even as neighboring states launch sports betting is a result of increased awareness and acceptance in the state.
Experienced gamblers are the first users, but as the sportsbooks promote themselves across the state, Isaacson said they begin to pick up the sports fans not as engaged in gaming who begin to see it as a way to enhance their experience.
“There’s an onboarding process,” he added. “And then there’s a spend per year or per customer that is going to increase as the years go by. People get more comfortable and just continue to do it more and more.”
More Sportsbooks Coming to Indiana
Currently, Indiana has sportsbooks at 11 of its casinos and racinos. The one state-licensed venue that does not currently offer it, the Majestic Star in Gary, plans to have a sportsbook when it moves inland and becomes Hard Rock Northern Indiana. Another Hard Rock casino slated in Terre Haute will also have a sportsbook. Meanwhile, Four Winds Casino in South Bend, the state’s only tribal casino, is seeking to offer sports betting as well.
Besides the retail sites, 10 mobile sports betting apps operate in the state, with more coming.
Last week, Gibraltar-based 888 Holdings announced it secured access to Colorado, Iowa, and Indiana. Yaniv Sherman, 888’s senior vice president and head of commercial development, said the Indiana app could launch sometime in 2021.
Sherman told Casino.org that 888 also sees Indiana as a growing market.
One thing that could 888 is if Indiana also launches iGaming in the near future. At least one lawmaker has stated the General Assembly will consider a bill that would allow online casinos. While 888 is only offering consumer-facing apps in New Jersey, it provides back-end platforms for operators in Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey.
Sherman said Indiana iGaming could help it draw customers to its mobile casino product. That, in turn, would connect them to 888’s sports betting app.
That would sort of restart the market like we’ve seen in New Jersey in reverse, and we hope to be there when it happens,” he said.
Other potential apps for Indiana include Smarkets, BetIndiana, and Barstool Sports. Each license holder can partner with up to three online skins.