September marked the one-year anniversary for legal sports betting in the state of Indiana. The sports betting industry in that state celebrated the occasion with a record handle. This has been one of fastest growing markets in the US and the addition of football added a major boost to last month’s action.
The Indiana Gaming Commission released its figures for September and the total sports betting handle was $207.5 million. In comparison, Indiana posted a $32.2 million handle last September in its first month in business.
The previous state record for total money wagered on sports in a one-month timeframe was February of this year. That figure was $187.2 million. The fast rate of growth is expected to continue into next year.
Industry insiders attribute some of this rapid growth to sports betting issues in neighboring Illinois. That launch has gone slower than expected. Confusion with registering an online account has plagued that state’s rollout. This has allowed Indiana to benefit from the Chicago market.
While this edge will not last forever, Indiana has shown solid growth trends all across the state. Football provided a big boost in September. However, there was quite a bit of money wagered on all the major sports, most notably the NBA. The Pacers made a quick exit from the postseason but NBA volume was steady all month long.
Jessica Welman is a gaming industry analyst. While she also recognized the positive impact from the issues in Illinois, she added the following insight:
“Indiana’s balanced regulatory framework remains attractive to operators, which has kept the market on relatively firm footing too. Those factors were key in kicking off the football season in record fashion.”
Other industry analysts believe the total monthly sports betting handle in Indiana could reach $250 million based on current growth trends.
The sports betting handle refers to the total amount of money wagered on sports. Sportsbooks normally take in between 55 and 57 percent of that total as revenue. This is referred to as the hold percentage.
States with legal sports betting charge tax on a book’s revenue. In the case of Indiana, the tax rate is 9.5 percent. Going back to September’s record $207.5 million handle, this resulted in $1.4 million in tax revenue.
As a direct comparison, September’s casino revenue topped $170 million. This resulted in $32.9 million in tax revenue.
None the less, the rapidly expanding sports betting market is helping to fill the void created by lost land-based casino revenue. This should remain the case in the short term. As the casino industry continues to recover over the next several months, additional sports betting tax revenue would be viewed as a plus to the overall tax revenue picture.
Indiana has 13 land-based casino properties. There are nine casinos that also take in revenue from sports betting.
Ameristar in East Chicago generated the most sports betting tax revenue in the month of September ($525,710). This was according to the official state figures released by the Indiana Gaming Commission.