Football Betting Scores Indiana A Record $207 Million September Handle

Posted on October 9, 2020

September set a new record-high for Indiana sports betting handle.

The state racked up $207 million in handle, which is the now Indiana’s biggest haul for a single month.

February 2020 was the previous record holder with it’s $187 million haul.

September was a nice improvement over August’s $169 million handle, and the number of betting options certainly helped out.

Indiana gamblers had plenty of high-quality betting options between the NBA, NHL and MLB playoffs taking place throughout the month.

Football was the most popular sport for betting in September. Driven by the start of the NFL calendar, Hoosiers bet $48 million on football alone last month, causing a surge in Indiana sports betting revenue.

September’s handle created $1.3 million worth of tax revenue for the state, and over $14 million of adjusted gross revenue for the sportsbooks themselves.

Indiana’s September 2020 Sports Betting Handle

Here’s a quick look at where Indiana’s handle came from in September 2020:

CasinoHandleOnline HandleRetail HandleRevenueTaxes (9.5%)
Total $207,450,106$173,170,386$34,279,720$14,283,702$1,356,952
Ameristar (DraftKings, theScore Bet)$95,056,265$89,825,567$5,230,669$5,533,790$525,710
Blue Chip (FanDuel)$57,696,201$56,507,126$1,189,074$3,342,056$317,495
Hollywood Lawrenceburg (PointsBet)$16,055,246$6,196,439$9,858,806$2,259,044$214,609
Belterra (BetMGM)$13,893,605$13,190,060$703,545$1,421,068$135,001
French Lick Resort (BetRivers)$6,625,020$6,243,220$381,799$443,302$42,114
Horseshoe Hammond (Caesars, Unibet)$5,193,243$1,119,147$4,074,096$0$0
Harrah's Hoosier Park$4,047,959N/A$4,047,959$500,574$47,555
Indiana Grand$5,004,782N/A$2,166,142$611,664$51,108
Caesars Southern Indiana$2,047,189N/A$2,047,180$0$0
Tropicana Evansville $1,668,146N/A$1,668,146$155,820$14,803
Rising Star (BetAmerica)$162,459$88,832$73,627$16,384$1,556

PointsBet vs. BetRivers

No surprise here, but DraftKings and FanDuel are still the top dogs in Indiana.

DraftKings brought in nearly $90 million worth of wagers in September. That’s a new record-high for the company in Indiana.

FanDuel’s handle was a bit lower at $56 million.

BetMGM has established itself as the clear number three in the Hoosier State. It’s $13.1 million September handle more than doubled the next-highest competitor.

That fourth-place spot in the state is still up for grabs.

It looked like PointsBet was ready to soar past BetRivers and stake its claim at the position, but that isn’t how it worked out in September.

BetRivers’ $6.24 million handle narrowly edged out PointsBet’s $6.19 million in wagers.

The two sportsbooks could easily spend the next few months swapping spots.

Since Unibet is the next-biggest threat to both companies, there isn’t exactly a lot of outside competition for fourth place.

Unibet only brought in $600,000 worth of wagers in September.

theScore Bet arrives

Indiana’s ninth online betting app also entered the picture in September.

theScore Bet launched in the Hoosier State on Sept. 17, and it had a pretty strong debut despite only taking bets for half of the month.

The betting app managed to break the $400,000 mark during its first month.

TheScore Bet performed pretty well compared to some of the other recent Indiana sportsbook launches, even better than some of the bigger-name brands.

When Caesars Sportsbook opened for business back in May, it only brought in a meager $8,000 in its first few weeks of operation. That number is quite surprising, since Caesars has a strong casino presence throughout the state.

Unibet had a much better showing after it came online on July 30. It brought in $10,000 during those first two days of July business, and over $560,000 worth of wagers in its first full month.

Since theScore sports media app is the second-most popular app of its kind in North America, there was already some level of brand recognition for the company in Indiana.

John Levy, theScore’s CEO, was hoping to translate some of those media app users into sports bettors, and it seems like that strategy worked out for the sportsbook’s first few weeks in the state.

Hollywood retail sportsbook shines

It comes as no surprise, but Hollywood Lawrenceburg’s retail sportsbook was the state’s most popular in September.

The retail book continues to be the top in-person option from month-month.

In September alone, Hollywood Lawrenceburg took in nearly $10 million worth of wagers. That was up from August’s $7 million haul, and July’s $2.7 million mark.

As always, Ameristar East Chicago’s retail sportsbook was the second most popular in Indiana.

The book racked up a $5.2 million retail handle in September, which was a small increase from August’s $4.9 million in wagers.

No other retail sportsbooks even managed to break the $5 million mark.

Hollywood and Ameristar do so well from month-month because of their geographic locations.

Ameristar is right on the Illinois border. It’s able to draw in extra customers from the Land of Lincoln since it’s such a short drive from Chicago.

Hollywood is in similar situation.

The casino is only a short drive away from Cincinnati, and it sits on top of the Indiana-Kentucky border.

That geographic leg up has been great for business, but it won’t last forever.

Indiana losing Midwest advantage

Sports betting started at the perfect time in the Hoosier State.

When betting began last fall, Indiana was the only state in the Midwest with legal betting.

Since then, Michigan and Illinois have opened up for business.

With residents in both states able to place their bets at casinos closer to home, there’s been fewer gamblers willing to make the drive into Indiana for betting.

As time goes on, retail sportsbooks like Ameristar’s will most likely start to see a decrease in out-of-state bettors.

The same thing will happen at Hollywood Lawrenceburg when Ohio eventually brings sports betting into the fold.

However, Indiana’s future losses won’t only come from the retail side of things.

Online wagers from out-of-state gamblers will also decrease over time.

Right now if you live in Michigan, Ohio or Kentucky, all you have to do is take a quick drive over the border to place your bets in Indiana using your phone.

With Michigan expected to launch online sports betting in November, and Ohio legislators working out the differences in their online sports betting bills, out-of-state betting traffic for Indiana could soon come to a halt.

Any dip in online betting is less than optimal for the state.

The vast majority of Indiana’s bets are placed online. 83% of the state’s handle came from online sportsbooks in September alone.

The more of its neighbors that develop a sports betting market, the smaller Indiana’s Midwest advantage becomes.

The extra business from nearby states may be fleeting, but it’s a situation that Indiana will be happy to take advantage of for as long as it lasts.

Photo by Associated Press
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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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