As the new year approaches, we take the opportunity to reflect on some of the biggest gambling stories of Indiana in 2019.
There’s no doubt about it; Indiana’s gaming industry had a banner year in 2019. Gov. Eric Holcomb signed HB 1015 in May, which set into motion a significant gambling expansion for the state.
Many of those pieces have yet to be realized, but one major one has come to fruition: legal sports betting.
Sports betting goes live in Indiana
Sports betting went live in September at casinos across the state. The real money-maker – online sports betting – launched in early October with DraftKings Sportsbook and BetRivers.
As the 13th state in the US to launch sports betting, Indiana immediately benefitted from neighboring states without sports betting. Two Indiana casinos within 30 miles of downtown Chicago combined for more than $17 million in retail handle in October alone.
Meanwhile, Hollywood Casino Lawrenceburg, just a half-hour drive from downtown Cincinnati, ranked second in the state in October taking in $6.9 million in handle.
Those land-based numbers are nice, but they likely won’t stick. Once Illinois begins sports betting operations, live wagering at Horseshoe Hammond and Ameristar East Chicago should take a hit.
Likewise, if and when Ohio passes legal sports betting, the Ohio foot traffic Hollywood Casino is enjoying will subside. It’s still possible that the online sports betting momentum will continue to make up for those hits, however.
Indiana online sportsbook market strong and growing
Online sportsbook developments in the Hoosier State appear to be ramping up nicely. DraftKings Sportsbook’s mobile app took $39.3 million in bets, or 43% of all handle, in October. FanDuel Sportsbook also launched at the end of October and had $2.4 million in handle.
There should be at least two more online sportsbooks live in Indiana by the end of the year, according to Full House CEO Dan Lee.
Smarkets and the SBTech-powered Churchill Downs brand, BetAmerica, plan to launch by the close of 2019, he said. It’s a fair guess that the third partner, WynnBet Indiana Sportsbook on the BetBull platform, would want to be live by the Super Bowl, Lee added.
Others like PointsBet and BetIndiana are also looking to enter the online sports betting market in the Hoosier State in early 2020. Indiana got off to a strong start in the sports betting market in the final months of 2019. The state’s position looks to grow even stronger in 2020.