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Indiana sportsbooks end 2020 with a bang

12 Jan 2021

(PRESS RELEASE) -- Indiana became the fifth state in U.S. history to surpass $300 million in bets in a month in December, ending 2020 with fourth consecutive record months, more than $1.75 billion in bets, and passing $2 billion in lifetime wagers, according to analysts from PlayIndiana.

“Nothing could have recouped the revenue losses from the cancellation of the NCAA Tournament and much of the baseball season,” said Jessica Welman, analyst for “But a lot went right this fall for sportsbooks, and it was on full display in December. The Indianapolis Colts, Notre Dame and Indiana football all continued to attract significant wagering. Then a full month of college basketball, which is more important in Indiana than most anywhere else, and the start of the NBA season added a year-end boost. The strong finish made it so that 2020 represented a big leap forward despite all the challenges.”

Indiana sportsbooks took in $313.1 million in December, according to official reporting released Tuesday. December’s wagers were up 93.5% from $161.8 million in December 2019 while shattering the previous handle record of $251.4 million set in November.

December’s wagers generated $24.1 million in adjusted gross operator revenue, according to PlayIndiana’s own tabulations, nearly doubling the $12.1 million set in December 2019. The month’s bets yielded $2.3 million in state taxes.

For the year, Indiana’s retail and online sportsbooks produced:
  • $1.8 billion in bets. That includes $1.5 billion in online wagering and $295.1 million in bets through retail sportsbooks.
  • $138.4 million in gross operator revenue.
  • $13.2 million in state taxes.
Since launching in October 2019, Indiana’s sportsbooks have produced $2.2 billion in wagers.

“The first full year of operation for Indiana’s sports betting industry was anything but normal, but ultimately it managed to steady itself and end the year on a roll,” said Dustin Gouker, analyst for “The state faced a pandemic that shuttered retail sportsbooks, a shutdown of major sports for four months, and a record-setting sports betting launch in neighboring Illinois that siphoned off a key market for the state. But sportsbooks were creative in their perseverance, and it paid enormous dividends as the year went on.”

Online betting generated 84% of December’s handle, or $263.1 million, which was down slightly from 85% in November. Market leader DraftKings/Ameristar Casino took in $112.7 million in bets, up from $95.2 million. Those bets produced $5.1 million in gross receipts, down from $7 million in October.

DraftKings was followed by:

- FanDuel/Blue Chip Casino ($78.2 million handle, up from $64.2 million; $5 million in gross receipts, down from $7.7 million.

- BetMGM/Belterra ($41 million handle, up from $25.3 million; $2.9 million win, up from $2.2 million)

- PointsBet/Hollywood Lawrenceburg ($11.4 million handle, up from $9.9 million; $1.2 million win, up from $794,517)

- BetRivers/French Lick Resort ($10.6 million handle, up from $10.3 million; $803,868 win, up from $660,365)

- William Hill/Tropicana Evansville ($4.2 million handle, up from $4 million; $632,634 win, down from $685,922)

- TheScore/Ameristar ($2.8 million handle, up from $2.2 million; $85,721 win, up from $45,530)

- Unibet/Horseshoe Hammond ($1.4 million handle, down from $1.8 million; $108,609 win, up from -$7,008)

- Caesars/Horseshoe Hammond ($675,183 handle, up from $564,046; $27,569 win, down from $67,095)

- BetAmerica/Rising Star Casino ($209,608 handle, up from $144,130; $14,505 win, up from $11,005)

Unlike online sportsbooks, the retail market has understandably been slow to rebound. Retail sportsbooks generated $50 million in wagers, down slightly from $51.2 million in December 2019. Hollywood Lawrenceburg, nearest Cincinnati, led the retail market with a $12 million handle. Ameristar Casino was second with $9.5 million, followed by Horseshoe Hammond with $7.2 million.

“Online sports betting has buoyed the industry all year as a number of challenges have hit the retail market, especially the pandemic,” Welman said. “Indiana’s retail market will continue to be important, especially once the pandemic ends, but online betting will remain the vehicle of choice for sports bettors.”

While sports betting has reached new heights this fall and winter, Indiana continues to move forward with legislation that could legalize online casino gaming and poker. Sen. Jon Ford introduced a bill Monday that would legalize both, which could bring an additional $45 million to $60 million in annual tax revenue, according to Ford’s own projections.

Online casino games are a more predictable revenue generator. In Pennsylvania in November, gamblers bet $2.2 billion on online casino games and poker, resulting in $59.8 million in operator revenue. By contrast, Pennsylvania sportsbooks took in $491.9 million in bets, resulting in a record $48.5 million in operator revenue.

“The states where both are legal, online casinos games tend to dwarf sports betting in terms of both revenue and the money wagered,” Gouker said. “More is bet every month, and the win is more predictable with far fewer fluctuations from month to month. For a state like Indiana, such a dependable revenue source is unquestionably attractive.”
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