What Pandemic? Indiana’s $169M August Handle Returns State To ‘Normal’ Levels

Posted on September 11, 2020 - Last Updated on November 23, 2020

Indiana’s sports betting handle is finally “back to normal.”

Hoosiers wagered $169 million on sports in August, which was the state’s highest mark since February’s $187 million haul.

August’s numbers also more than doubled the $70 million handle that July was able to bring in.

However, despite the huge jumps, the large handle is hardly a surprise. With sports back in full force for the first time in months, a bigger betting handle and a boost in Indiana sports betting revenue were all but guaranteed.

August’s handle translated to nearly $10 million in adjusted gross revenue, and over $900,000 of tax revenue for the state.

Indiana’s August 2020 sports betting handle

Here’s a breakdown of the Hoosier State’s handle for August 2020:

LicenseeOnline Brand(s)Total HandleOnline HandleRetail HandleGross RevenueState Tax
Ameristar East ChicagoDraftKings$78,646,658$73,701,146$4,945,512$5,819,958$465,125
Blue ChipFanDuel$50,751,375$50,057,516$693,859$3,642,451$216,175
Hollywood LawrenceburgPointsBet$11,720,382$4,783,206$6,937,176$1,128,945$107,298
French LickBetRivers$5,107,678$5,005,798$101,880$343,847$32,023
Horseshoe HammondCaesars | Unibet$3,589,353$902,247$2,687,106$248,916$0
Harrah's Hoosier Park$3,500,365$0$3,500,365$282,683$26,073
Indiana Grand$2,577,860$0$2,577,860$293,988$16,941
Caesars Southern Indiana$1,590,272$0$1,590,272-$6,409$0
Tropicana Evansville$1,517,254$0$1,517,254$94,407$0
Rising StarBetAmerica$113,574$63,494$50,079$9,161$0

Basketball popularity soars

With the NBA Playoffs in full swing for the entire month, NBA betting took off. Basketball was the most popular betting sport in Indiana throughout August.

Hoosiers bet $55 million on basketball during the month, which was a big jump from July’s $35 million mark.

The Indiana Pacers were involved in the postseason this year, which likely helped boost the numbers even higher.

The second-most popular betting category was parlays with a $43 million haul, and the “other” category took the last spot on the podium with its $36 million handle.

The other category on the state’s monthly revenue report contains everything that isn’t football, basketball, baseball or a parlay.

Since hockey is an “other” sport in Indiana, it was likely the biggest contributor to the category’s huge numbers in August.

With the NHL Playoffs running the entire month, the category certainly received an extra boost.

BetMGM, PointsBet gaining ground

PointsBet and BetMGM both launched in Indiana just weeks before the COVID-19 shutdowns began.

With no sports to bet on, neither sportsbook had a fair chance to establish itself. That’s starting to change.

In July, BetMGM finally knocked BetRivers out of its long-held spot as the state’s third most popular sportsbook. BetMGM’s handle was about $800,000 higher.

The gap between the two exploded in August. BetMGM took in over $9 million worth of wagers compared to the $5 million handle from BetRivers.

BetMGM now takes more wagers in Indiana than Caesars, Unibet, BetRivers and BetAmerica combined.

As BetRivers struggles to expand its market share, PointsBet keeps gaining ground.

PointsBet’s handle was only about $200,000 lower than BetRivers’ haul last month. At this rate, PointsBet will knock Rush Street Interactive’s sportsbook into fifth place by next month.

However, that growth hasn’t come easily.

PointsBet has been marketing aggressively in Indiana.

By running promotions like its Indiana Crowd Boosters, it’s able to attract a lot of new customers. But since those promotions are such a good deal for the gambler, they’re very expensive to keep bringing back every few weeks.

They say you have to spend money to make money, and at least in PointsBet’s case, that seems to be working out so far.

Expect huge Indiana sports betting handle in September

Sports betting is in a once-in-a-lifetime situation right now.

Sept. 10 was the first time in history that the following leagues all played games on the same day:

  • NFL
  • NBA
  • WNBA
  • MLB
  • MLS
  • NHL

That situation is only possible because of the coronavirus delays that pushed the NBA and MLB seasons back by so many months.

Since a pandemic isn’t exactly a yearly occurrence, it could be decades before sports fans see this kind of overlap again.

September could easily pull in Indiana’s biggest sports betting handle ever. February 2020’s $187 million mark is the current record holder.

Football will be the key to the whole thing.

As the most popular betting sport in the US, it’s going to dominate in terms of betting handle.

Hoosiers only bet $700,000 on football in August, but that will change in September now that the NFL season is here.

We won’t know for sure until Oct. 9, when the gaming commission plans to release this month’s numbers.

However, if August is a sign of things to come, Hoosiers are eager to bet after a few months without major sports.

Between the NBA Playoffs, NHL Playoffs, MLB season and the start of the NFL calendar, gamblers certainly have plenty of high-quality options to pick from.

Jake Garza Avatar
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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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