Indiana Sportsbooks hit $169 million in Handle for August

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09/29/2020
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The return of professional sports for the full month of August amid the global pandemic is reviving the nascent sports betting industry in Indiana, and helping the state stay ahead of the new competition in neighboring states like Michigan and Illinois.

Indiana more than doubled its total sports wagering handle in August 2020, reporting a 138% increase month-on-month.

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Indiana sportsbooks had more than $169 million in total sports handle in August compared to $70.87 million in July, according to figures released by the state regulatory body recently.

However, it’s still almost 10% lower than the record $187.2 million in sports wagers reported in February 2020 just before the full force of the global pandemic struck and the related shutdowns. Sports betting revenue in August 2020 was slightly more than $9.8 million, an increase of 47.7% from July’s $6.6 million.

The newly-formed Indiana legal sports betting market, celebrated its one-year anniversary September 1, went past the $1 billion in total handle during July 2020, only ten months into full operations.

August 2020 – Indiana’s 3rd-best ever Sports Betting Month

August 2020 was the third-most wagered month Indiana has reported since the launch of sports betting in the Hoosier State. Only January and February of 2020 had more dollars wagered on games in Indiana than August 2020, and those winter months are usually a time when NFL play-offs and the Super Bowl bump results exponentially.

Breaking down the numbers by betting on individual sport types, basketball came in with the largest handle of all. With more than $55.2 million reported, basketball brought in more betting cash than baseball, which accumulated $31 million. NBA playoffs began in August, which helped increase online betting demand on what has now become the second-most popular betting league in the United States after the NFL.

Despite that action had not even begun in August, football saw $717K wagered on the sport in Indiana, as NFL betting fans were getting in early to claim the best futures betting odds possible on team futures and win totals. Other sports made up the remaining $36 million plus wagered in the Hoosier State, including sports like the EPL, NHL, UFC, and other sports leagues around the world.

Great result for Indiana, but challenges still yet to overcome

The global pandemic related shutdown of professional sports in the spring, and the postponement of college football in three of the sport’s major conferences, has cut heavily into the betting handle. The results could have been even better if college sports were in play.

“This has been an eventful first year for Indiana sportsbooks,” said Jessica Welman, a leading sports wagering industry analyst in Indiana. “And increasing competition from neighboring states and rapidly growing jurisdictions such as Colorado will continue to put pressure on Indiana’s status.” Welman continued.

Perhaps the most significant challenge for Indiana’s online sportsbook industry is the competition of the legal online sports gambling markets in Illinois and Michigan. Wellman correctly states that Indiana to date has partially experienced its great start due to its Chicago market exposure, and once Illinois catches up fully to Indiana in its online sports wagering launch, it will be difficult to compete.

“An Illinois expansion of online betting could really affect Indiana. In that case, the state’s sportsbooks will have to be creative in attracting new bettors within the state to help blunt the loss of the Chicago market,” Welman explained.

Fortunately, though, Indiana finds itself in a great position to capitalize on the large sports betting markets of Kentucky and Ohio (both yet to introduce legal sports wagering), Welman concluded.

Bettors from those states continue to cross Indiana’s state lines to place their geo-protected online sports bets.

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