Indiana Hits Its One Year Sports Betting Anniversary, What Does The Future Hold?

Posted on September 1, 2020 - Last Updated on September 5, 2020

It’s been one year since sports betting started in Indiana.

The state’s first year in business was certainly a successful one.

Since betting started on Sept. 1, 2019, Indiana has pulled in over $1 billion worth of wagers, and over $8 million worth of taxes for the state.

Things have come a long way since last September.

Birth of betting in Indiana

Sports betting wouldn’t have even been a possibility in the Hoosier State if not for the Supreme Court.

In May 2018, the court ruled that the national sports betting ban outside of Nevada was unconstitutional.

That ruling opened the door for gambling around the country.

However, even with a road map to legality, legalization takes time. Indiana was quick to get to work, however.

About a year later, in May 2019, Indiana legalized sports betting.

With online sports betting in the cards, the state was set up to become a big market once betting finally began.

Thankfully, Indiana lawmakers avoided the in-person registration requirements that have plagued other states.

A few months later, retail betting began when Gov. Eric Holcomb placed the first legal wager on Sept. 1.

Online sports betting started a month later, and Indiana was off to the races.

Where are we now?

Indiana has made a lot of progress since the start of betting.

Eight online betting apps have launched in the state since last October. Currently, Hoosiers can pick from these online books for their sports betting needs:

Indiana enjoyed a Midwest advantage during its first handful of betting months.

Since Michigan, Illinois, Kentucky and Ohio didn’t have sports betting, residents from those states flocked to Indiana for their legal betting needs.

Since you can register for an online book remotely in Indiana, out-of-state gamblers only needed to cross the border into the Hoosier State to place their bets.

Although that extra boost helped jump-start Indiana’s market, it’s slowly fading away.

Both Illinois and Michigan have legal sports betting now. Illinois already has online betting, and Michigan will be bringing it into the fold this fall.

Indiana may be losing the extra business from those two states, but Kentucky and Ohio are still a long ways away from legal betting.

As long as those two are still behind the pack, their residents will keep coming to Indiana for their gambling needs.

It’s a leg up that won’t last forever, but the Hoosier State will be happy to take advantage of it while it’s still there.

The future of Indiana sports betting

Indiana will continue to mature as a market over the course of the next year.

The more sportsbooks that launch in the state, the higher the level of competition will become.

BetIndiana and theScore Bet will be launching in Indiana this year, with other companies like FOX Bet and William Hill coming later down the road as well.

The return of sports will also help establish the state’s bigger players.

Big companies like PointsBet and BetMGM launched in Indiana right before March’s coronavirus shutdowns. Without sports to bet on, neither had a fair shot at carving out its own chunk of the state’s market.

That’s starting to change.

Ever since sports gambling started, BetRivers has enjoyed its spot as Indiana’s third most popular sportsbook.

BetMGM finally knocked BetRivers off of the podium in July.

With PointsBet also gaining ground in the state, everyone not named DraftKings or FanDuel will have a tough time trying to elbow out the rest of the competition in the coming months.

Indiana online casinos are next

With a successful sports betting market together, the next step that Indiana can take in the gambling industry will be legalizing online casinos.

Back in 2019, Gov. Holcomb cited the need to keep the state’s casino industry competitive as a key reason behind the push for sports betting.

“By modernizing our laws, this legislation will spur positive economic growth for our state and for an industry that employees over 11,000 Hoosiers. Additionally, it will bring in new revenue and create hundreds of new jobs – both permanent and in construction.”

Online casino games are the next step in keeping Indiana’s industry ahead of the curve.

The arguments for legalizing sports betting apply to online gaming as well. It creates fun for gamblers, new jobs and more tax revenue for the state, in a nutshell.

Online casinos are generally more profitable than sportsbooks as well, which adds some extra weight behind that reasoning.

With Indiana’s general fund taking a hit thanks to COVID-19, online casinos could be one way to inject some life into the state’s economy moving forward.

One Indiana lawmaker is already hoping to get some online casino legislation on the books at some point during 2021. That push is going to be an uphill battle.

Despite the reservations some of the state’s representatives may have about online casinos, they’ll still end up being the natural evolution of the state’s gambling industry.

Now that Indiana has a successful first year of sports betting under its belt, the push for online casinos will be stronger than ever.

Indiana had an ideal sports betting launch, so if it wants to maintain its status as one of the country’s best gambling markets, it’ll have to keep its eyes on the future.

Photo by Getty
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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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