Sports Betting Makes Small But Meaningful Impact In Indiana In 2019

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Indiana sports betting came at the right moment.

According to figures from the Indiana Gaming Commission, the table games and gaming machines in the state won $179.8 mm from gamblers in December, bringing the 2019 total to $2.11 billion. That was off slightly from the $2.15 billion the casinos won from those offerings in 2018, according to historical data from the University of Nevada Las Vegas’ Center for Gaming Research.

That gaming win was down almost 2% in 2019. Fortunately for the Hoosier State, there was a new offering in the mix as of September and it’s still only just the beginning. In 2011, prior to the emergence of Ohio’s casino industry, Indiana’s casino gaming market was worth $2.72 billion.

Sports betting brings help

The books won more than $40 mm from sports wagers in 2019, which included $11.9 mm from December.

That offset the roughly $33 mm drop in aggregate table game and slot win.

Hoosier State sports betting is still in its infancy. A 2017 study commissioned by the U.S. casino industry projected that Indiana could see a $400 mm sports wagering market. More is available if the state legalizes online casinos, but that likely won’t come for at least a couple of years.

Indiana has four online/mobile sportsbooks in the fray right now, and more are expected in 2020. The first apps launched in October, and they allow remote registration. This week, MGM’s Roar Digital was awarded a vendor license in the state. BetMGM is expected to be a major player in Indiana.

About 68% of the $161.8 mm in December handle came via the internet. In 2019, the Indiana books handled nearly $430 mm in bets, a respectable figure in just a handful of months.

Other gambling expansion

Sports betting isn’t the only way Indiana is planning to boost its gaming industry. It recently allowed live dealer table games to begin at a pair of racinos on New Year’s Day. Those offerings should provide a significant year-over-year boost in January’s revenue report.

Additionally, the gambling expansion package of 2019 allowed a new land-based casino in Gary, Ind. There’s also a new casino coming to Vigo County near the Illinois border. Those casinos are expected to capture untapped gaming win in the Hoosier State.

Even with the expansion of retail casino gambling and sports betting in the state, Indiana is unlikely to ever beat its record for gaming win. However, that could come under online casino adoption. In New Jersey, online casinos won $482.6 mm from gamblers in 2019, a more than 60% year-over-year increase.

Sports betting, where books typically have a relatively small win percentage, is less of a cash cow than traditional online casino games. Sports betting and online casino have proved complementary to each other in New Jersey, which could tempt Indiana to pursue legalization eventually.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

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Brian Pempus

Brian served as a senior reporter and online content manager for Card Player Magazine for nearly a decade before joining USBets in October 2018. He is currently focused on legal and regulated sports betting and online gaming. He's an avid jiu-jitsu practitioner in his free time.

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