Inside INdiana Business

Sports betting continues to climb as competition grows

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) — While the Super Bowl contributed to Indiana’s sportsbooks in February, basketball was the big recipient of sports wagers last month.

Indiana Gaming Commission data shows all-sports betting in the Hoosier state reached $187 million, up nearly 10% from January. The state’s coffers received just over $1 million in tax revenue.

Gaming analysts for PlayIndiana.com and Gambling.com say bettors placed $11.6 million in football bets, but basketball generated $90 million in wagers.

“The Super Bowl was the single most significant event in February, but Indiana has done exceptionally well with basketball,” said Jessica Welman, an analyst for PlayIndiana.com. “That balance is helping Indiana avoid a post-football slump, which is common in jurisdictions such as Nevada.”

On-site legal sports betting is now underway in Illinois after Rivers Casino in the Chicago suburb of Des Plaines opened the state’s first sportsbook on Monday. Michigan may start offering on-site (retail) sports betting next week. But neither state offers online sports wagering, like Indiana.

“The state has a near-perfect storm of success and will continue to be among the shining stars in legal sports betting even as neighboring states move to legalize sports betting,” said Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for PlayIndiana.com.

Gouker expects some southern Michigan residents are still likely to cross over into Indiana to place sports bets, due to proximity.

As far as Illinois, Gouker says Illinois residents will eventually need to register in-person at a casino to place mobile sports bets, but that’s not the case in Indiana. So Illinois bettors may still cross the state line.

Online sportsbooks generated nearly 80% of all sports wagers in Indiana.

“With two more operators launching mobile sports betting apps in Indiana this month, just in time for college basketball tournaments, expect big numbers in Indiana for March,” said Max Bichsel, vice president of U.S. business for Gambling.com Group.

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