Inside INdiana Business

Indiana sportsbook grows as NBA, MLB resume

The Indiana Gaming Commission says the August 2020 "handle" for Indiana sports books reached $169 million, generating $934,000 in tax revenue. (photo courtesy: IIB)

INDIANAPOLIS (Inside INdiana Business) — The Indiana sports betting industry has started to rebuild following a three-month shutdown stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Indiana Gaming Commission reports bettors wagered nearly $71 million in July in the eight days after major sports resumed.

The July handle generated $6.7 million in tax revenue for the state.

“In terms of lost tax revenue, Indiana has finally seen the bottom and there is light at the end of the tunnel,” said Max Bischel, vice president of U.S. business for Gambling.com Group.

In June, the Indiana sports handle registered nearly $30 million. In March, the state saw nearly $75 million in sports bets.

“The industry is closing on a return to a more normal market that has the potential of a huge surge with a full month of baseball, basketball, and hockey and the potential return of football nearing,” said Dustin Gouker, lead analyst at PlayIndiana.com.

Even though betting levels increased last month, PlayIndiana.com analysts say bets were still off by $90 million from the expectations of an ordinary July.

The gaming analysis firm says Indiana sportsbooks have lost out nearly $700 million in wagers since sports shut down.

While the NBA and MLB have resumed their limited summer schedules, fall sports are still in jeopardy as a growing number of collegiate conferences have canceled fall sports. There are growing concerns major conferences could suspend football.

“If the leagues remain healthy, August could help sportsbooks make up some lost ground,” said Jessica Welman, an analyst for PlayIndiana.com. “But the industry is not out of the woods yet. College football and the NFL still have challenges to overcome, and a significant loss of the football calendar would be a huge hit to sportsbooks.”

Since sports betting launched in Indiana in October 2019, more than $1 billion in wagers have been placed.

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