BetMGM Celebrates One-Year Anniversary As A Top Indiana Online Sportsbook

Posted on February 26, 2021

It’s been one year since BetMGM and PointsBet made their Indiana debuts.

BetMGM launched in the state on Feb. 25 of last year, with PointsBet opening for business on March 5.

The sportsbooks might have started on equal footing, but BetMGM slowly gained the upper hand over the past year.

Pandemic makes for rough BetMGM debut

Both companies came to Indiana with one goal in mind: launch in time for March Madness betting.

BetMGM and PointsBet both managed to hit that goal, but neither company was ready for the pandemic to flip the sports world on its head.

COVID-19 canceled last year’s March Madness tournament, along with every other sporting event that spring.

April 2020 was the first full month that both sportsbooks went head-to-head, competing for the attention of Indiana’s gamblers. During that time, PointsBet only racked up about $450,000 worth of wagers, with BetMGM even lower at $418,000.

Neither sportsbook had a fair shot to get off the launch pad until sports returned later in the summer.

Sportsbooks stuck in the middle

By the time BetMGM and PointsBet started taking bets in Indiana, the state already had four other online sportsbooks up and running.

DraftKings and FanDuel had been Indiana’s top sports betting operators since the beginning.

The question was, which company would claim the third and final podium spot? PointsBet and BetMGM spent last summer trying to elbow their way past the rest of the competition.

At the time, BetRivers was also gunning for its own share of the sports betting crowd. The sportsbook has lost the interest of the state’s gamblers since it launched back in 2019.

The trio spent most of 2020 battling in the mid-tier of the competition.

PointsBet struck a deal with the Indiana Pacers to try and give itself an edge. BetMGM went for NASCAR, and both signed deals with the PGA Tour.

By the time that fall came around, BetMGM was starting to leave PointsBet and BetRivers in the dust.

PointsBet and BetRivers fall behind

September 2020 was the first month that BetMGM really started to push its way up the sportsbook rankings.

Until then, things had been more or less equal.

BetMGM pulled in over $13 million worth of wagers during September. That was over double the combined totals from PointsBet and BetRivers, which both had handles of about $6 million each.

So what changed?

BetMGM’s success could be partially thanks to its advertising blitz around the country. Over the last year, it’s been difficult to watch any sporting event in Indiana without running into some kind of advertisement from the company.

Increasing brand awareness is a huge priority for sportsbooks whenever they launch in a new state.

There’s a reason DraftKings and FanDuel do well in every new market they come to, and it’s because people have heard of the companies before.

PointsBet almost always has a superior selection of promotions compared to BetMGM, but it still can’t even sniff the same betting numbers. A lack of brand awareness could be playing a role in that.

BetMGM takes command

BetMGM’s Indiana rise culminated in a handful of dominant months to end 2020.

Nowadays, it’s consistently Indiana’s third-most popular sportsbook when revenue numbers come out each month.

The company took in over $52 million worth of bets during January, just behind FanDuel’s $89 million handle and the massive $122 million haul from DraftKings.

BetMGM still has a ways to go before it can catch second place, but the sportsbook’s growth over the last year has it miles ahead of the rest of the competition.

PointsBet and BetRivers are still battling for fourth. Their numbers are typically near the $10-13 million range in any given month.

PointsBet and BetMGM may have launched at identical times last year, but only the latter has been able to really make an impact on Indiana’s market.

With the way things are going now, BetMGM will be a sports betting force in the Hoosier State for years to come.

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Jake Garza

Jake Garza is a sports writer based in Indianapolis, IN. He's an Indiana University graduate who's spent time as a sports reporter covering teams at the prep, collegiate and professional levels.

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