Indiana Sets New Record With October Sports Betting Handle Of $230.9M

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Any doubts about the high-end staying power of sports betting in Indiana were put to rest Tuesday when the Indiana Gaming Commission reported a record handle of $230.9 million for the month of October.

It was the second consecutive month the Hoosier State cleared the $200 million benchmark, having posted a handle of $207.4 million in September. That was aided by a convergence of all four professional sports being played simultaneously as games were rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the continued instant availability of mobile sports wagering and the popularity of football in October were the primary drivers for setting an all-time high for a second straight month.

It was also a good month for the sportsbooks, which generated nearly $21.1 million in revenue — shattering the standard of $14.3 million set in September. Indiana sportsbooks have collected nearly $35.4 million in revenue the last two months, accounting for 27.1% of the $130.3 million generated since sports betting launched in the state in September 2019.

The hold was 9.14%, a notable uptick from September’s 6.89% mark. That resulted in an all-time monthly high of tax revenue as Indiana collected $2,004,354 in taxes in October. That also blew past the previous monthly best of $1,356,952 established in September.

DraftKings leads way; FanDuel and BetMGM climb sharply

Indiana quickly established itself as a mature market thanks to remote registration, and its 10 mobile “skins” (online sportsbook brands) accounted for slightly more than $193 million of the overall handle. The percentage of handle via online wagers was 83.59%, a slight increase from September’s 83.48%.

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DraftKings was far and away the most-utilized sports betting app in Indiana, generating almost $90.5 million handle via Ameristar Casino. While FanDuel was second with almost $63.6 million, clearly outpaced but not distant, its total through Blue Chip Casino was a 12.5% increase month-over-month from September.

BetMGM was the only other mobile sportsbook to record an eight-figure handle, accepting slightly more than $20 million in wagers operating through Belterra Casino. BetMGM saw an impressive 52.2% improvement in online handle compared to September’s report of just less than $13.2 million.

BetRivers edged out PointsBet for fourth, generating $7.8 million in handle compared to the Australian-based sportsbook’s haul of nearly $7.1 million. Seven mobile skins reported a handle of at least $1.4 million, and new entrant William Hill received nearly $150,000 in bets in four days after launching Oct. 28.

Odds and ends

The combination of NFL and college football, most notably the Big Ten’s return Oct. 23 that drew attention to local teams Indiana and Purdue, proved to be catnip for sports bettors. Wagering on football — the IGC does not provide a breakout for pro and college — totaled more than $84.7 million, a 75% increase from September’s total of $48.4 million.

As betting on football skyrocketed, plays on parlays increased at a slower rate. After being the top draw in September with more than $50.6 million in wagers, it climbed 20.7% to $61.1 million in October. The catch-all category of “Other,” which includes golf, hockey, MMA, and boxing among other offerings, generated nearly $46 million in bets.

Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg claimed honors as the top retail sportsbook for October, generating nearly $11.5 million in handle. It was the only retail sportsbook to reach eight figures as Ameristar ($5.5 million) and Horseshoe Hammond ($4.2 million) rounded out the top three spots.

While Blue Chip in Michigan City ranked sixth among the nine casinos overall with a retail handle barely exceeding $2 million, it was a 70.6% increase from September’s in-person wagering total of $1.18 million.

The state’s two horse racing tracks — Indiana Grand and Harrah’s Hoosier Park — recorded two of the four best holds, among the state’s 11 sports betting venues. Indiana Grand had a 14.19% hold — trailing only Caesar’s Southern Indiana (15.10%) — on nearly $4.5 million in handle, while Harrah’s Hoosier Park posted an 11.52% hold on slightly more than $4.1 million in bets placed.

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Chris Altruda

Chris Altruda has been a sportswriter with ESPN, The Associated Press, and STATS over more than two decades. He recently expanded into covering sports betting and gambling around the Midwest.

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