May Handle Grows To $37M As Indiana Reopens Casinos

Posted on June 10, 2020

May was another down month for Indiana’s sports betting handle.

Hoosier bettors wagered about $37 million throughout the month, giving May 2020 one of the lowest handles in the state’s sports betting history.

However, the low numbers were hardly unexpected.

When COVID-19 chopped down the number of sports betting options, the amount of money wagered naturally went down as well.

In February, the last pre-pandemic month, Indiana pulled in $185 million in handle. That dropped to a record-low $26 million haul in April.

So, even though May’s numbers are low, things are looking up. As more sports return to action, the Hoosier State’s sports betting handle should start to rebound.

Indiana’s May 2020 sports betting numbers

Here’s a look at where Indiana’s sports betting handle came from in May 2020:

CasinoHandleOnline HandleRetail HandleRevenueTaxes (9.5%)
Total$37,334,940$37,334,940$0$3,179,968$302,097
Ameristar Casino (DraftKings)$20,132,953$20,132,953$0$1,826,693$173,536
Blue Chip Casino (FanDuel)$12,271,816$12,271,816$0$1,063,474$101,030
French Lick Resort (BetRivers)$2,396,529$2,396,529$0$175,591$16,681
Belterra Casino (BetMGM)$1,501,998$1,501,998$0$114,210$10,850
Hollywood Lawrenceburg (PointsBet)$986,258$986,258$0$0$0
Rising Star Casino (BetAmerica)$37,323$37,323$0$0$0
Horseshoe Hammond (Caesars)$8,063$8,063$0$0$0
Caesars Southern Indiana$0$0$0$0$0
Harrah's Hoosier Park$0$0$0$0$0
Indiana Grand$0$0$0$0$0
Majestic Star$0$0$0$0$0
Majestic Star II$0$0$0$0$0
Tropicana Evansville$0$0$0$0$0

DraftKings, FanDuel continue to dominate

When it comes to sports betting in the Hoosier State, DraftKings and FanDuel sportsbooks are leading the pack.

Saying that the two of them are Indiana’s most popular sportsbooks is almost an understatement. The duo accounted for nearly 88% of May’s handle.

Caesars was the only new sportsbook to go live in May. With its launch, Indiana now has seven online sportsbooks.

During its first month, Caesars only managed to bring in $8,063 worth of bets. However, since it launched on May 19, it missed out on over half of the month’s action.

The history of other Indiana sportsbooks shows that Caesars still has a steep hill to climb.

For example, BetAmerica has struggled since entering the state in December 2019. If it wasn’t for newcomer Caesars, BetAmerica would have had the lowest handle out of all the state’s sportsbooks.

BetAmerica brought in $37,323 worth of bets in May. Excluding Caesars, the second-lowest handle came from PointsBet, which pulled in nearly $1 million worth of bets.

That’s a massive difference between the two, and PointsBet hasn’t had a real chance to establish itself.

PointsBet and BetMGM launched in Indiana right before the COVID-19 shutdown started, so both sportsbooks will be looking to make a splash once major sports return. Caesars will be right in the mix of things, too, as it looks to carve out a chunk of the state’s handle.

However, the trio of sportsbooks have a lot of ground to cover before they can compete with DraftKings or FanDuel.

PointsBet, BetMGM and Caesars had a combined May handle of about $2.5 million. When you compare that with FanDuel’s $12.2 million handle and DraftKings’ $20.1 million haul, it’s clear that the rest of the competition has some catching up to do.

Sports betting is still Indiana’s only gambling income

For the second straight month, 100% of the casino industry’s revenue came from sports betting.

Indiana’s brick-and-mortar casinos have been closed¬†since March.

Other states have used online casinos to bring in some extra income during the shutdowns. But since online casinos aren’t legal in Indiana, the Hoosier State hasn’t had that safety net to fall back on.

Although the state’s handle increased by about 42% from April to May, the revenues for sportsbooks more than doubled.

In April, Indiana’s sportsbooks had a combined adjusted gross revenue of about $1.5 million. That number jumped up to nearly $3.2 million in May.

Even with the state’s sports betting handle improving, the numbers are still way down from where they could have been.

Indiana’s handle likely would have been over the $200 million mark if sports were operating normally throughout May. It’s a long fall to $37 million.

Indiana missing out on over $160 million in wagers is hardly ideal, but that’s just the reality of things with most of the major sports still off the board.

Thankfully, things are looking up. Once the sports betting staples return to action, Indiana’s handle will start to return to pre-pandemic levels.

Indiana’s handle will start to rebound in June

June will be a better month for Indiana’s sportsbooks.

The state’s casinos are reopening on June 15. Having those retail sportsbooks back in business will help boost Indiana’s numbers.

Additionally, more sports are also making their returns.

For the past few months, obscure sports like table tennis have been the most popular betting options for Indiana’s sportsbooks. That’s finally starting to change.

The PGA Tour returns this week with the Charles Schwab Challenge, and the UFC and NASCAR are already back in full swing. European soccer is also revving things back up.

The NBA and NHL have both announced their returns to play, and although their seasons won’t resume until July, they could both generate some extra interest for futures betting.

All of those factors will help push up Indiana’s handle. Things might not be back to normal yet, but June will help the Hoosier State make some big progress toward returning to form.

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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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