Indiana Enjoys Strong First Month of Sports Betting With More Than $35M in Wagers Placed

Posted on: October 12, 2019, 12:42h. 

Last updated on: October 13, 2019, 10:12h.

The first month of sports betting in Indiana turned out to be a very strong one for sportsbooks in the Hoosier State.

Horseshoe Hammond officials celebrate the grand opening of its sportsbook on Sept. 4. In its first month, the sportsbook, located less than two miles from the Illinois state line, took in nearly $9 million in bets, which accounted for more than a quarter of all the bets Indiana’s books took last month. (Image: Caesars Entertainment)

The state saw 10 sportsbooks open in September, and those books combined to take in more than $35.2 million in bets, according to figures released by the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC). They produced adjusted gross revenues of nearly $8.6 million.

Indiana claimed more than $813,000 in taxes, based on the 9.5 percent rate lawmakers approved earlier this year. That’s when they passed the expanded gaming bill that allowed the state’s casinos, racinos, and off-track betting parlors to accept sports wagers.

State officials projected sports betting would generate $8.9 million in fiscal year 2020. While the $813,000 is about $175,000 below the pace needed to meet that target, not all of the sportsbooks were open the entire month, and the revenue figures do not incorporate online betting, which started earlier this month.

Sports betting became legal in Indiana on Sept. 1, and when the first three casinos opened that day, the state became the 13th in the US to offer sports betting.

All but one of the casinos licensed to accept sports bets have opened their sportsbooks. Rising Star Casino in Rising Sun has yet to announce an opening date for its book.

State Line Casinos Lead

One of the reasons Indiana is considered an enticing sports betting market is that it’s surrounded by other states and large metropolitan areas where the activity is still illegal. Not surprisingly, the state’s three biggest sportsbooks were located next door to those metro areas.

Horseshoe Hammond, located just outside Chicago and less than two miles from the state line, booked nearly $9 million in bets. That meant the Caesars Entertainment property in northwest Indiana accounted for more than a quarter of the market, despite not opening until Sept. 4.

Ameristar Casino in East Chicago, located less than five miles from Hammond, accepted $5.4 million in bets.

On the opposite end of the state, the Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg took in more than $5.2 million in wagers. Lawrenceburg is just across the Ohio state line and a short drive from Cincinnati in southeastern Indiana.

Indiana’s two racetracks also fared well. Harrah’s Hoosier Park handled more than $4.3 million in bets. That total also includes wagers accepted by the track’s OTB parlor in downtown Indianapolis. Meanwhile, Indiana Grand accepted $3.6 million in bets, and that amount includes bets taken by its OTB parlor across the river from Louisville, Ky.

Football Fuels Indiana Action

The opening of the state’s sportsbooks coincided with the start of the NFL regular season. Not surprisingly, football – the most popular sport for bettors – far and away dominated the action in Indiana.

Raw figures from the IGC indicate $20.7 million, or roughly 60 percent of the total handle, came from bettors placing bets on single pro or college football games.

Football games also likely accounted for most of the $9.8 million in parlay bets placed. IGC Deputy Director Jenny Reske told that the state accounts for any multiple-leg bets as a parlay, even if all the legs are in the same sport. Parlay bets accounted for more than 28 percent of the wagers placed in September.

Baseball, which wrapped up its regular season last month, accounted for roughly 10 percent of the bets placed.