Crystal Ball: Predicting Top Five Indiana Sports Betting Headlines of 2020

Posted on December 23, 2019 - Last Updated on February 4, 2020

The year 2019 has been a huge one for the gaming industry in the Hoosier State. It will be hard for 2020 to top it, but the new year could still bring some big Indiana sports betting headlines.

The legalization of sports betting and the relocation of riverboat casinos inland made 2019 significant. The numbers in 2020 could bring even more growth, however.

Five biggest Indiana sports betting headlines expected in 2020

Although handle for sports betting in Indiana has already topped the $100 million mark, the industry in the Hoosier State is still in its infancy. Because of that, there is potential for growth still.

That is partially because sportsbooks will learn more about the market and get better at promoting themselves. The industry will grow as more Indiana residents and visitors become aware of legal options as well.

Yet it’s not all hype as the calendar turns to 2020. There are also potential obstacles ahead for Hoosier State legal sportsbooks.

Here’s a breakdown of what could be the five biggest storylines out of Indiana as far as sports betting goes in 2020.

5) First $200 million handle month

The first three months of the year include some of the biggest events for sports betting. Among them are:

  • NFL playoffs
  • College Football Playoff
  • Super Bowl LIV
  • NBA regular season
  • NHL regular season
  • College basketball regular season
  • March Madness

Because of the stacked calendar and the promotions that sportsbooks in Indiana will run during that time, it is well within the realm of possibility for handle to reach $200 million in at least one of the first three months of 2020.

The next possible headline plays off the demand for both sports and sports betting in the Hoosier State. It’s a little bit of a surprise this hasn’t happened already, in fact.

4) First professional team/sportsbook partnership

Earlier this year, the Indianapolis Colts and FanDuel announced a new partnership. The partnership made FanDuel the official daily fantasy sports partner of the Colts.

It’s entirely possible that the Colts and FanDuel could expand that sponsorship deal to add the “official sports betting partner” to the relationship. It could be a necessary move for FanDuel to expand its market share.

Last month, two out of every three mobile bets placed in Indiana used DraftKings. FanDuel making that move could cause a chain reaction, however.

DraftKings might react by snapping up a similar partnership with the Indiana Fever and/or Pacers. There are other possible players for that market, which is the subject of the next prediction.

3) It’s getting crowded in here: Online sportsbook market continues growth

There are currently only three online sportsbook operators in the Hoosier State. That number should grow drastically in the new year.

The several brands that might launch mobile sportsbooks in 2020 include:

  • 888 Sportsbook
  • BetAmerica
  • BetBull
  • Caesars
  • PointsBet
  • SBK Sportsbook

There is always a concern about market saturation, especially when a number of new operators all converge on the same market around the same time. Indiana seems to have the demand to support a wide array of operators, however, and competition benefits consumers in several ways.

Competition for Indiana sportsbooks will come from more than just other in-state operators in 2020, however. That will come from outside of state lines.

2) Competition starts to catch up in surrounding states

Two of the states that neighbor Indiana — Illinois and Michigan — have already legalized sports betting within their borders. Both states plan to launch in 2020.

Kentucky and Ohio are considering doing the same. If things move quickly, the Bluegrass and Buckeye states might join the fray before 2020 ends.

For Indiana’s sportsbooks, especially the brick-and-mortar ones, that could mean diminished returns. The several casinos in the northern part of the state, of greatest proximity to Chicago and Detroit, could be most affected.

If the Indiana books are able to hold their own in the new market, however, 2020 could still be a stellar first full year. The Hoosier State’s forces might combine to reach another significant milestone before year’s end.

1) Indiana sports betting annual handle clears a billion

While December’s handle is yet to come, Indiana’s legal sportsbooks should approach $400 million for handle in 2019. That’s with just four months of action, and in one of those months, betting was restricted to retail only.

A full calendar year of sports betting in the Hoosier State should see handle surpass the billion-dollar mark. That would be a tremendous accomplishment but is well within the realm of reality.

While 2019 was a big year for the sports betting industry in Indiana from a regulatory perspective, 2020 could assert itself from a performance perspective.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Kansas City, Mo. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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