Indiana Going Strong

The legalization of sports betting in the US state of Illinois had raised concerns on the potential impact on the industry in neighboring Indiana. But according to the latest figures, Indiana is holding up well in the face of the increased competition. 

Although Illinois appears to have earned some share of the local betting market, the latest figures released for October showed that the Hoosier State is standing up to the challenge. 

Record Handle

The official figures for the month of October showed that sportsbooks were able to record another record-breaking month both for revenue and for handle. 

According to the report released last week, Indiana sports betting handle hit $230.9 million while revenue was $21.1 million, leading to a 9.1% hold. Mobile sports betting dominated the total, representing 83.6% of the total bets, worth $193 million. 

At this point, we don’t yet know how the Illinois sports betting sector performed in October, or September, due to their particular rules. Illinois reports sports betting figures over four weeks after the end of each month, representing the longest delay in the US. But the fact that Illinois sports betting recorded a handle of $140 million in August suggests that it is going strong. 

Unexpected Challenge

Sports betting operators in Indiana were not anticipating such a direct threat from the Illinois market at this relatively early stage. Illinois was due to have in-person sports betting registration for the first 18 months, which would, in theory, mean that many Illinois residents would find it easier to cross the border into Indiana to make their sports bets. 

The coronavirus pandemic changed those calculations. With casinos shut down, the Illinois governor, JB Pritzker, took the decision to allow online registration in June and August, enabling Illinois customers to register from home. Given the worsening pandemic situation in the state, that remote registration order seems likely to be repeated. So the fact that the Indiana market has been able to weather these challenges is good news for operators in the state. 

Big Names Dominate

The Indiana sports betting sector seems to be dominated by the big name brands. DraftKings Sportsbook is leading the way, claiming $90.5 million through the mobile betting handle, representing an impressive 46.9% share of the Indiana market. FanDuel Sportsbook is in second place, claiming $63.6 million in handle, while BetMGM has consolidated its third-place position. 

The remaining seven mobile sports betting operators in the state are fighting it out for the fourth place, with BetRivers edging that position from PointsBet, with BetAmerica, TheScore Bet, Unibet, and Caesars all trailing. It has yet to be seen what impact the latest entrant, William Hill, will have on the market, as the experienced operator debuted its Indiana service at the end of October. 

Ohio Boost

Another factor that has been working in Indiana’s favor is the lack of progress towards legal sports betting in neighboring Ohio. To an extent, this has helped to offset the lack of business from the northern Illinois area, with one operator, in particular, cashing in. The Hollywood Lawrenceburg retail sportsbook, operated by Penn National, has been taking advantage of its location, just thirty minutes away from downtown Cincinnati, enabling it to attract Ohio sports betting customers. 

Hollywood Lawrenceburg recorded $11.5 million in retail sports betting handle in October, a total that was more than double the next best-performing casino in Indiana. 

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