Bettors at Indiana’s retail and online sportsbooks were more active in May compared to April, a welcome result after April’s month-over-month slowdown, even as May revenue slipped slightly. But even with the market advantages that helped spur the positive turn, Indiana’s sports betting industry will have to wait until football season kicks off before betting volume returns to the highwater marks hit earlier this year, according to PlayIndiana, which tracks the state’s gaming industry.
“Even with the expected slowdown over the last two months, no Midwestern state has held its ground better than Indiana,” said Nicole Russo, analyst for PlayIndiana.com. “Some of that can be attributed to local events driving interest, including the Indy 500. But the market’s structural advantages that were built in before sports betting launched is also paying dividends.”
Bettors placed $254.4 million in wagers in May at Indiana’s retail and online sportsbooks, according to official reporting released Friday. That is up 7.6% from $236.4 million in April, even as May’s handle remained well shy of the $316.7 million handle in March.
May’s bets produced $18.9 million in adjusted gross revenue, down 6.1% from $20.1 million in April and yielding $1.8 million in state taxes. Last month’s results are significantly improved over May 2020, when online retail and sportsbooks generated just $3.2 million in revenue on $37.3 million in bets.
A slowdown from April until the kickoff of football season is to be expected, but Indiana has some advantages over other legal markets in the U.S. during the slower months. For one, the Indianapolis 500 in May helped drive wagering in Indiana more than in most legal jurisdictions. Secondly, Indiana sportsbooks have been particularly aggressive in finding new ways to take advantage of opportunities, such as aggressive promotional offerings for the Indiana Pacers’ play-in tournament appearance. That helped push basketball betting to $82.4 million in May.
“In open and competitive betting markets such as Indiana, sportsbooks have significant incentive to find alternative events to fuel bettor interest even while the sports calendar is slower,” said Jessica Welman, analyst for PlayIndiana.com. “Whether that means heavy promotion of a Pacers play-in game or future innovations built around the upcoming Olympics, operators will do what they can to hold their market position. And ultimately, that’s good for the entire market.”
Online betting accounted for 89.8%, or $228.4 million, of the state’s handle, an increase from 88.4% in April. Retail sportsbooks generated the remaining $26 million in wagers, down from $27.3 million in April.
DraftKings narrowly held its grip on the online market lead with $81.8 million in online bets, up from $79.3 million in April. Those bets yield $2.9 million in gross receipts, down from $6.1 million in April. FanDuel was just behind with $79.3 million in bets, up from $67.1 million in April. Those bets were enough to lead the state with $7.6 million in gross receipts, up from $5.7 million.
Indiana’s online market got more competitive in May with Penn National’s launch of its Barstool-branded online sportsbook on May 18. In less than two weeks, bettors poured $6.3 million in wagers, yielding a $267,512 win. That represents the sixth-highest betting volume among Indiana operators.
“Barstool is the most anticipated launch since the opening few months of the market, and for good reason,” Welman said. “In states where Barstool operates, including Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Michigan, Barstool has proven to be a market disruptor, even if it hasn’t overtaken the likes of FanDuel or DraftKings. May’s results are a small sample size, but there is enough to envision that a similar dynamic is building in Indiana.”
The leaders were followed by:
- BetMGM ($29.3 million handle, down from $30.9 million in March; $2.5 million win, down from $3.1 million).
- PointsBet ($11.3 million handle, up from $10.3 million; $1 million win, up from $794,476)
- William Hill ($8.2 million handle, down from $8.5 million; $173,885 win, down from $378,830)
- BetRivers/French Lick Resort ($6.8 million handle, down from $7.3 million; $438,229 win, up from $381,975)
- TheScore ($2.9 million handle, down from $3.2 million; $125,729 win, down from $128,670)
- Unibet ($1.3 million handle, down from $2 million; $83,089 win, up from $23,884)
- TwinSpires ($504,680 handle, up from $158,702; $53,878 up from -$8,929)
- WynnBet ($485,306 handle, down from $411,778; $56,074 win, up from $47,206)
- Caesars (no handle; -$136 win)
On the retail side, Hollywood Lawrenceburg, nearest to Cincinnati, led the retail market again with $8.4 million in wagers, even with $8.4 million in April. Ameristar East Chicago was second with $4.4 million.
“The retail market is beginning to show new life as pandemic concerns wane,” Russo said. “Out-of-state bettors remain the lifeblood of the retail market. So long as Ohio and Kentucky resist legalizing sports betting, and pandemic-related restrictions don’t return, retail sportsbooks should continue to return to health.”
For more revenue information on Indiana sportsbooks, visit PlayIndiana.com/revenue.