Indiana’s sports betting industry marked its first year on September 1, but the anniversary is marred as the business continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. During the first 12 months, Indiana sports gaming generated $1.2 billion in wagers, which resulted in $9 million in state taxes, according to sports gambling analysts with PlayIndiana.com.
The shutdown of professional sports in the spring, plus the postponement of college football in three major conferences, has cut into the handle.
“This has been an eventful first year for Indiana sportsbooks,” said Jessica Welman, analyst for PlayIndiana.com. “And increasing competition from neighboring states and rapidly growing jurisdictions such as Colorado will continue to put pressure on Indiana’s status.”
Data from the Indiana Gaming Commission shows Indiana’s online and retail sportsbook generated $169 million in wagers in August, as baseball, basketball and hockey returned. Wellman said August was Indiana’s third-largest monthly total since the launch of sports gambling in the Hoosier state.
Its highest one-month total was $187 million generated in February, the last month before the pandemic set-in and the state issued its stay-at-home order.
Last month’s bets generated about $934,000 in tax revenue for the state.
“A rebound was inevitable with such an active sports schedule in August but seeing such a busy month is awfully welcome news for Indiana’s sports betting industry,” said Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for PlayIndiana.com. “August’s results are a clear signal that we are turning the page on its darkest days.”
But Gouker warned Indiana’s next 12 months will present more challenges because of the postponement of Big Ten football and the uncertainty of college basketball. He said those events are major draws for Indiana bettors.
Another challenge for Indiana’s sportsbook is the addition of sports gambling in Illinois and Michigan. Wellman said Indiana fed heavily off the Chicago market.
“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,” said Wellman.
But she said Indiana is still in a position to capitalize on large markets in Ohio and Kentucky.