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Indiana sportsbooks have bright future with casinos returning

12 Jul 2020

(PRESS RELEASE) -- Indiana sportsbooks hit a typical early-summer lull, one exasperated by the continued hiatus of major American sports, according to PlayIndiana. June’s $29.8 million handle was shy by $145 million of what would have been expected with a full menu of summer sports, according to PlayIndiana estimates. But with an uptick in futures betting, major sports on the near horizon, and the reopening of retail casinos and sportsbooks, the industry still inched closer to normal.

“June historically is a slow month for sports betting, but the return of major sports are huge for Indiana’s sportsbooks, obviously, and we already see the momentum with a boost in futures betting,” said Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for “A surge in betting should come as major sports move closer. In fact, with pent-up demand and truncated seasons that shorten the wait for a potential payout, futures betting could prove particularly enticing.”

June’s handle was down 20.1% from $37.3 million in May, but up 13.3% from $26.3 million in April, according to official reporting released Friday. The month produced $2.9 million in adjusted gross revenue, down 8.1% from $3.2 million in May, and yielded $277,601 in tax revenue for the state.

Bets on the PGA Tour, auto racing, European soccer, hockey futures, and others — classified by Indiana simply as “other” than football, basketball, and baseball — produced $20.4 million in June, down from $30.5 million in May. But bets on the three major American team sports were up significantly — to $3.3 million in June from $1.4 million in May — fueled mostly by bets on baseball, which drew more than $2 million alone.

“Sportsbooks have done an excellent job over the last few months in keeping bettors engaged with unconventional betting sports, but those sports can’t replace the loss of basketball and baseball,” said Jessica Welman, analyst for “But the return of baseball and basketball, and local interest with the return of the Indiana Pacers and Chicago-area teams, July should bring a big step toward recovery.”

With casinos reopening, June marked the return of retail sports betting. But that produced a relatively tiny $558,970 handle from in-person wagers, the first since March. A tepid reopening of in-person betting was expected with the sports world still trying to restart, but it is still an important milestone.

Hollywood Casino - Lawrenceburg led the market with $323,968 in handle.

“The reopening of the retail market is important not only because it means significant new revenue for operators, but it also signals that the gaming industry is on the mend,” Gouker said. “Many challenges lie ahead for the industry, and the revenue lost can’t instantly be replaced. But things are headed in the right direction.”

The online market accounted for 98%, or $29.1 million, of June’s handle. DraftKings/Ameristar East Chicago led its online competitors with $18.2 million in bets, down from $20.1 million in May. That handle yielded $1.6 million in gross receipts, down from $1.8 million. FanDuel/Blue Chip Casino, Hotel & Spa remained second with its $7.9 million handle in June, down from $12.3 million, resulting in an $839,056 win, down from $1.1 million.

The online market leaders were followed by:

- BetRivers/French Lick Resort ($1.3 million handle, down from $2.4 million; $157,889 win, down from $168,721)

- BetMGM/Belterra Casino Resort ($1.1 million million handle, down from $1.5 million; $132,133 win, up/down from $123,467)

- PointsBet/Hollywood Casino - Lawrenceburg ($520,376 handle, down from $986,258 handle; $33,442 win, down from $74,687)

- Caesars/Horseshoe Casino - Hammond ($33,444 handle, up/down from $8,063; $3,658 win, up from $2,755)

- BetAmerica/Rising Star Casino Resort ($6,172 handle, down from $37,323; -$1,200 win, down from $10,042)

Indiana’s online market, though, could be facing stiffer competition after BetRivers launched Illinois’ first online sportsbook in June.

“The Illinois launch of BetRivers could keep some Chicagoans at home, cutting off what has been a profitable market for Indiana,” Welman said. “Indiana’s operators knew that day would come eventually, but it could slow down the near-term recovery for the state’s sports betting industry.”
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