Indiana sports betting grows ‘exponentially’ in November

The Indiana Gaming Commission says the June 2021 handle for Indiana sports books dipped to $246 million. (photo courtesy: IIB)

EAST CHICAGO, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Three months into legalized sports betting in the Hoosier state, Indiana’s sportsbook continues to aggressively grow, according to gaming industry analysts.

But with neighboring states of Illinois and Michigan looking to launch their own sportsbooks, could it impact Indiana?

Bets on the Hoosier state’s online and retail sportsbooks in November brought in nearly $150 million, according to data released by the Indiana Gaming Commission.

Compare that to the $91.7 million wagered in October and $34.5 million in September, the first month of the sportsbook in Indiana.

“Once online betting begins, the market grows exponentially,” said Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for, a Las Vegas-based gaming analytics firm. “Bettors overwhelmingly prefer the convenience and safety of online sportsbooks, and the addition of DraftKings and FanDuel in October was like adding rocket fuel to Indiana’s sports betting industry.”

Gouker says with three online sportsbooks operating for all of November, online betting is grabbing a bigger share of the gaming pie from the retail sports betting.

The digital bets accounted for 65% of the state’s handle last month, a total of about $96 million.

“We expect that at least 75% of Indiana’s handle will eventually come from online sportsbooks, and that threshold should be met within months,” said Gouker.

Gouker says because of its proximity to Chicago, Ameristar Casino in East Chicago, which carries the license for DraftKings online gaming, is leading the pack. Because Illinois doesn’t have legalized online sports betting, those gamers must travel to Indiana to place bets.

But that could soon change as the Illinois Gaming Board is expected to start accepting license applications for online sports betting in early 2020.

Indiana could also see competition from north of the border. This week the Michigan Senate approved two bills that would allow for sports betting and Internet gambling. The Michigan House approved its version of the legislation in October. Lawmakers say the measure could reach Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s desk by the end of the week.

“Indiana is currently benefitting from a sports betting monopoly in the region, a dynamic that will change as Illinois rolls out sports betting, and as Michigan is set to pass a new law before the end of the year,” Gouker said.

From Indiana’s point of view, Gouker doesn’t think Michigan will have much impact on the state’s bottom line, as there is far more potential from drive-in traffic from other bordering states with larger population centers close by in Illinois, Ohio, and Kentucky.