Indiana casinos and their sportsbook apps won $162,521,457 from gamblers last month, according to figures from the Indiana Gaming Commission released last week.
The winnings were down just over 8% compared to $176,803,383 in November 2019.
Last month, the retail casinos won $137,189,337 from slots and table games, with the sportsbooks, both retail and online, generating $25,332,120. In November 2019, the figures were $167,504,831 and $9,298,552, respectively.
The sports betting handle last month was $251,403,994, up from $147,276,915 in November 2019.
The books held nearly 10.1% of wagers last month in the form of revenue, greater than the 8.2% average since sports betting began in the Hoosier State in September 2019.
COVID-19 reason for decline
Hoosier State casinos remain open, but their capacities have been slashed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, many potential visitors are staying away altogether. Through the first 11 months of 2020, Indiana casino win was down nearly 30%, according to tracking from the University of Nevada Las Vegas Center for Gaming Research.
That decline, however, was a bit less than the national average casino win decline during the period, so Indiana sports betting has helped.
In January and February of this year, prior to the pandemic that shuttered casinos in March and brought the U.S. sports world to a virtual standstill, Indiana gambling revenue was up about 28% and 21% year-over-year, respectively.
After some ramp-up time following the first sports betting apps launching in October 2019, Indiana was set to see a great year in terms of casino revenue, but COVID-19 was the premature end of that run.
Online casino legislation said to be forthcoming
Policymakers in the Hoosier State are already starting to flirt with allowing casino games to be played over the internet, verticals that would be offered by the same companies that already offer online sports betting within the state.
Legislation is expected to hit the table next year, but nothing is guaranteed.
Indiana casinos were slowly turning things around after reopening this summer, but the second major wave of COVID-19 has revenues stuck in reverse significantly once again. It would have been even worse if the books didn’t hold 10.1% of the November handle.
The impetus is there for an online casino bill despite policymakers stating in 2019 — when the state passed a gambling expansion package that included new brick-and-mortar properties — that another major expansion bill would be a ways away.
COVID-19 has shuffled the deck in Indiana, and the state could by the end of 2021 join a small list of states, including neighboring Michigan, with online casinos.
As the gaming industry has seen over the years, introduction of an online casino bill does not guarantee that it becomes law. Any online casino bill introduced in Indiana in 2021 might need to be hashed out in multiple sessions before it has a chance of passage. With that said, neighboring Michigan, expected to launch a full array of online gambling next month, will soon show Indiana that it might not want to wait on fully modernizing its gaming sector.