Mobile Sports Betting Sparks Huge Gain For Ameristar Casino Near Chicago

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Behold the power of the internet and the smartphone.

Even with only three of Indiana’s 10 casinos and racetracks accepting mobile sports betting for the first time, both the handle and taxable revenues in the Hoosier State increased dramatically as DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetRivers all conducted their first online transactions last month.

According to numbers released by the Indiana Gaming Commission, the state had a collective handle of just under $91.7 mm in October, a 160% increase from September’s in-person exclusive total of $35.2 mm. The result was tax revenue also rising sharply as $1,096,160 — a 34.8% increase from September — poured into the state’s coffers.

Both casinos closest to Chicago, Ameristar and Horseshoe Hammond, reported double-digit growth over their respective September handles. Mobile sports betting made a tremendous impact for Ameristar, which is aligned with DraftKings and accounted for more than half of Indiana’s overall handle with $46.1 mm.

That increase was greater than seven-fold from September’s retail-only total of $5.41 mm. Ameristar’s hold, however, plummeted from 23.6% to 10.89% in October. The impressive higher handle still resulted in a nearly threefold increase in Ameristar’s tax revenue to $477,434, which represented 43.6% of Indiana’s total tax revenue.

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DraftKings’ early dominance

DraftKings, which went live in Indiana on Oct. 2, accounted for just over 85% of Ameristar’s overall handle with $39.3 mm. The online betting giant averaged a daily handle of $1.7 mm given the Indiana Gaming Commission measures its monthly total from the 24th to the 24th of each month before adjustments are made.

“The DraftKings digital sportsbook has been live in Indiana for just over a month, and fans in the state continue to gravitate toward our platform, which has combined personalization technology with special Indiana-specific boosts and promotions for a tailored experience,” said Matt Kalish, Chief Revenue Officer and Co-Founder of Draft Kings, in a statement.  “Our early success is also a testament to Indiana regulators who have established a successful formula for the legal sports betting market to thrive.”

Horseshoe Hammond has yet to enter the mobile fray as it waits on corporate owner Caesars Sports to unveil its betting app. Still, Horseshoe reported an 18.9% increase on its handle to $10.68 mm and was the only other casino besides Ameristar to post an eight-figure handle. Like Ameristar, Hammond Horseshoe experienced a sharp dip in its hold from 23.16% in September to 16.07% in October.

The result was Horseshoe actually contributing less in tax revenue month-over-month, tailing off to $163,004 in October, 17.5% less than its September figure of $197,640.

The third Chicagoland area casino in Indiana, Majestic Star in Gary, recently entered an agreement to enter the sports betting market with USA Sports Gaming LLC of Oak Brook, Ill. The BetIndiana mobile sportsbook will launch upon approval from the Indiana Gaming Commission and be exclusively online, though it will team with Majestic Star to build a sports betting lounge where people can place wagers via personal devices.

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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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