NFL Draft Betting Does Little To Boost April’s $26 Million In Bets On Indiana Apps

Posted on May 11, 2020 - Last Updated on May 25, 2020

Indiana’s sports betting handle continues to feel the impact of COVID-19.

The Hoosier State brought in a record-low handle of $26 million during April.

The previous low was September 2019’s $34 million, but that was the state’s very first month of legal sports betting. Indiana didn’t even have online sportsbooks operating at that point.

April was the second-straight month of huge drops in the state’s handle. Indiana had a record-setting $185 million handle in February. That dipped to $74 million in March, with April’s handle falling even further.

The state’s handle dropped 65% from March-April, landing it at that $26 million mark.

However, the low numbers aren’t much of a surprise considering that the country’s major sports leagues are still shut down. It’s a trend that will likely continue until the world of sports returns to normal.

Indiana’s April 2020 sports betting numbers

Here’s a breakdown of Indiana’s sports betting handle from April:

LicenseeOnline Brand(s)Total HandleOnline HandleRetail HandleGross RevenueState Tax
Ameristar East ChicagoDraftKings$13,649,514$13,649,514$0$908,322$91,006
Blue ChipFanDuel$9,715,664$9,715,664$0$558,155$40,576
French LickBetRivers$2,067,231$2,067,231$0$116,284$11,047
Hollywood LawrenceburgPointsBet$449,638$449,638$0-$4,768$0
Rising StarBetAmerica$3,886$3,886$0$3,519$0
Horseshoe Hammond$0$0$0$0$0
Harrah's Hoosier Park$0$0$0$0$0
Indiana Grand$0$0$0$0$0
Caesars Southern Indiana$0$0$0$0$0
Tropicana Evansville$0$0$0$0$0

Sports betting was the casino industry’s only moneymaker in April

Since Indiana’s casinos have had their doors closed since mid-March, online sports betting was the only way for the casino industry to bring in money during April.

Indiana doesn’t have legal online casinos, which have helped make up for the lack of retail revenue in other states.

April produced about $1.5 million in adjusted gross revenue for the state’s sportsbooks. That’s down from about $5.5 million in March, and $11 million in February.

For the sake of comparison, Indiana’s casino industry had an average April revenue of over $182 million from 2015-2019. April 2020 could have been even more successful since it was the first one since sports betting started in the state.

Obviously, this was not your typical April for the casino industry. With brick and mortar facilities shut down for the entire month, that small $1.5 million in revenue helps show that sports betting can’t carry the industry on its own.

With less money coming into sportsbooks, that also means less money going to the state in sports betting taxes.

April’s handle translated to $148,000 in tax revenue for Indiana, which was also a big decline. Sports betting taxes broke $500,000 in March.

However, March had a leg up on April from the start. The major sports leagues were still operating for the first half of March, so sportsbooks were receiving normal amounts of traffic during that time. That’s an advantage that April just didn’t have, since both casinos and major sports leagues were closed for the entire month.

PointsBet and BetAmerica operated at a loss during April

April was particularly tough for PointsBet and BetAmerica’s Indiana sites. Neither managed to turn a profit throughout the month.

PointsBet managed to create a handle of nearly $450,000, but reported $0 in revenue for April.

BetAmerica found itself in the same boat, with $0 in revenue coming out of its meager $3,800 handle.

A cyberattack knocked BetAmerica offline for a big chunk of April. The attack may have shaken the already rocky relationship that the sportsbook had with Hoosiers.

BetAmerica has struggled ever since it launched in Indiana back in December. Its been one of the poorest performing operators in the state since that launch.

The Churchill Downs-owned product has only brought in $2,700 worth of revenue during its first few months of operating in Indiana.

COVID-19 certainly hasn’t helped BetAmerica improve its status in the state. Since BetAmerica should be online for the entire month of May, the sportsbook will certainly be hoping to use that time to turn things around.

Obscure sports continue to lead the pack in popularity

Without the typical spring staples of basketball and baseball available for betting, sportsbooks have been getting creative.

Since mid-March, there’s been a slew of new betting options introduced revolving around sports that would hardly receive the same attention in a typical month.

Particularly at BetRivers, table tennis has become one of the most popular sports for betting throughout the state.

However, it’s not the only new sport that’s gained some newfound betting popularity.

The Indiana Gaming Commission breaks down the state’s handle by sport in its monthly reports. As the categories for basketball and other typical sports dipped, the “other” category started to take the reins.

That category lumps together everything that isn’t football, basketball, baseball or a parlay. That includes sports like table tennis, and other new options like Belarusian soccer.

The “other” category was the most popular area for sports betting in Indiana during both March and April. Hoosiers bet approximately $20 million on those obscure sports in March, and over $21 million on them in April.

By comparison, the NFL Draft and football futures only managed to generate $1.3 million in handle.

About 80% of April’s sports betting handle came from bets on those more obscure sports like table tennis.

Those “other” sports will likely be the most popular for betting yet again in May.

The return of the UFC and NASCAR will only bolster the category’s numbers going forward. Until the NFL, MLB, or NBA find a way to get going again, the “other” category will be staying on top.

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Jake Garza

Jake Garza is a US Gambling Industry Analyst for Catena Media. He specializes in Midwest sports betting and casino content. Prior to covering the legal gambling industry, he spent time as a professional sports writer, reporting on teams such as the Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts and Indiana Pacers. Garza is currently working as a Managing Editor for PlayIndiana and PlayOhio, with previous stops at other well-known brands such as PlayIllinois and PlayMichigan. He has been covering the gambling industry since 2019, and currently works with a team of other journalists to provide comprehensive coverage of the legal U.S. gambling industry.

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