Indiana Sports Betting Handle Hits $35.2m in First Month

  • Sportsbooks at Indiana casinos generated revenues of $8.6m in debut month
  • The most popular sports betting venues were those near downtown Chicago
  • Mobile sports betting went live in the state in October, so figures for the month should be higher
A money bill drawn on a chalk board looking like a growth graph.
Sportsbooks at Indiana casinos have enjoyed a successful first month of legal sports betting in the state, drawing $35.2m in wagers. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Ideal timing for opening

Figures have been released for Indiana’s debut month of legal sports betting, with an impressive sports betting handle of $35.2m reported.

Legal sports betting went live in the state on September 1, just in time for the start of the NFL season. The timing of the launch helped sportsbooks at Indiana casinos generate revenues of $8.6m for the month. This hold rate of about 24% is one of the best results for a US state to date since the ending of the federal ban.

hold rate of about 24% is one of the best results for a US state to date

According to figures released by the Indiana Gaming Commission, the state received $813,000 worth of tax revenue.

All of these results are for retail sports betting only, as mobile sports betting only went live in Indiana at the beginning of October.

Concerns in Illinois

The most popular retail sportsbooks in September were the Horseshoe Hammond (handle of $9m) and the Ameristar East Chicago (handle of $4.5m).

Both of these casinos are close to downtown Chicago, which is less than 25 miles away from Indiana. Matt Forte, the much-loved former running back for the Chicago Bears, opened the sportsbook at the Horseshoe Hammond Casino.

it will still be a few months before legal sports wagers can be placed in the Prairie State

Illinois does not currently offer legal sports betting, but it is concerned about residents traveling to Indiana to place wagers instead. Despite a massive gambling expansion bill being passed, it will still be a few months before legal sports wagers can be placed in the Prairie State.

Quick rollout

Some Illinois officials want legal sports betting to be rolled out quickly before the Indiana market has time to settle in with Illinois customers.

One of the main drivers behin the state’s gambling expansion bill was state Rep. Mike Zalewski.

Commenting on the urgency needed, he said: “I’m confident that the [Gaming Board] is working diligently to roll out sports betting. But Indiana’s early success is a reminder the sooner the better.”

Potential for mobile betting

The head of sportsbook digital at DraftKings is Jamie Shea. She spoke with Gambling Insider about the potential for sports betting in Indiana going forward. Shea believes that the state can generate success similar to that of New Jersey with legal mobile sports betting.

The retail handle alone in September was just $9.2m less than New Jersey for in-person wagering. However, 85% of sports bets made in New Jersey were placed through mobile devices. New Jersey is neck and neck each month with Nevada as the leading state for sports betting in the country.

Speaking about the demand for sports betting in Indiana, Shea said: “I think just from the numbers we’ve seen so far, 58% of the bettors in Indiana using DraftKings have never bet with us before, so we’ve definitely seen an uptick.”

Two mobile sportsbooks have launched in Indiana to date. With 15 sites accepting retail sports bets, more mobile platforms are set to follow in the near future.