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Sports betting apps fuel bonanza for Indiana treasury

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — In September, Hoosiers spent $350 million through their sports betting apps.

Indiana appears to be the winner, with a year-over-year increase in tax revenue that’s up 203%.

Shawn Dellinger is a self-described causal sports bettor. “Minimal amount I have done, $20-$30 so far this year,” Dellinger said. 

To use a sports betting app that is licensed to an Indiana gambling entity, the better has to be in the state of Indiana.

Dellinger has bet on the hometown team. “It is a lot of smaller. I put $5 on the Colts to win the Super Bowl. I put a couple of dollars here and there. It is almost all Colts stuff,” Dellinger said.

In September alone, Hoosiers spent $350 million. Football betting led the way with $148 million, followed parlay bets, which is betting on multiple sports at $91 million. 

Mobile sports apps have been a bonanza for the Indiana treasury. For the fiscal year of 2021, Indiana sports betting apps collected more than $2 billion from wagers. But, are the billions of dollars pouring through Indiana phone and computers creating dollars? 

Kyle Anderson, a business economics professor of the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, said, “I would say it is not creating very much, especially if we think about the sports gambling, because it is done on your app. You are not placing a bet at a cashier’s window. You are not going to a casino and having a larger experience. If you are just betting on your app, there are no jobs being created by that. Most likely, the people running that app are not in Indiana.”

According to data from the Indiana Gaming Commission, sports betting aps in fiscal year 2020 sent just shy of $7.5 million dollars to the state. For this fiscal year, that tally is close to $23 million, a difference of $15 million.

For anyone wondering, sports betting apps are taxed at 9.5%.

Sports betting apps became widespread in September 2020, and Hoosiers warmed up to this new form of entertainment in a hurry. In the first month, the state collected $800 ,000 in taxes.

“It is clear that spending on gambling and sports gambling really does crowd out other sorts of spending. It is an entertainment dollar, and that means that people are using that money instead of other forms of entertainment,” Anderson said. 

Placing bets on your phone is fairly new, and, once the newness wares off, the spending levels are expected to level off.