Preseason Football Helps Take Indiana’s 2021 Betting Handle Past $2 Billion Mark

August was a rebound month for Indiana’s sports betting industry.

The Hoosier State racked up $215 million worth of wagers last month. That was a nice step in the right direction following July’s $194 million handle.

Football betting was the big winner during August. With the start of the football calendar behind us, the sport is in position to dominate Indiana gambling for the next handful of months.

Indiana August 2021 sports betting handle

Indiana’s handle went up throughout August, but sportsbook revenue took a slight hit. Gambling companies made $16.5 million worth of adjusted gross revenue in August, which was down from $17.4 million in July.

Tax revenue went in the same direction.

Indiana collected $1.5 million in taxes during August. That was a small dip from July’s $1.6 million haul.

Licensee Online Brand(s) Total Handle Online Handle Retail Handle Revenue State Tax
Ameristar East Chicago DraftKings | theScore Bet $79,451,201 $76,050,283 $3,400,918 $4,630,049 $439,862
Blue Chip FanDuel $52,995,143 $52,642,898 $352,245 $4,992,731 $474,321
Belterra BetMGM | Betway $26,765,510 $26,488,211 $277,299 $2,567,828 $243,945
Hollywood Lawrenceburg PointsBet | Barstool $20,130,161 $14,518,215 $5,611,946 $1,880,176 $178,648
Tropicana Evansville Caesars $17,392,230 $16,862,075 $530,155 $1,025,307 $96,048
French Lick BetRivers $5,938,911 $5,777,952 $160,959 $439,365 $41,747
Horseshoe Hammond Unibet $3,463,013 $775,921 $2,687,092 $317,234 $18,712
Indiana Grand $3,313,345 $0 $3,313,345 $296,491 $28,186
Harrah’s Hoosier Park $3,050,586 $0 $3,050,586 $270,733 $25,662
Rising Star TwinSpires | WynnBet $2,162,318 $2,123,634 $38,684 $122,773 $11,556
Caesars Southern Indiana $974,405 $0 $974,405 $161,750 $12,392
Total $215,636,823 $195,239,189 $20,397,634 $16,704,437 $1,571,079

Football betting finally returns

Basketball is usually Indiana’s bread and butter when it comes to betting. The NBA and college hoops dominate wagering when they’re both in full swing.

Basketball was the most popular betting sport in Indiana from January to June this year.

With fall ahead of us, it’s officially football’s time to shine.

The NFL preseason was taking place throughout August, which helped lead to some extra football betting in Indiana.

The sport’s handle saw a dramatic increase from July’s $2.2 million worth of bets. That trend is going to continue heading into the final third of 2021.

Football ended up as the second-most popular betting sport behind baseball in August.

  • Football: $13.8 million
  • Basketball: $5.6 million
  • Baseball: $68.3 million
  • Parlay: $82.3 million
  • Other: $43.1 million

Over $2 billion worth of 2021 sports bets

August’s $215 million handle put Indiana over the hump for an important yearly milestone.

Hoosiers have officially wagered over $2 billion on sports during 2021 alone. That’s quite an impressive haul considering that Indiana doesn’t have a massive city like Chicago within its borders.

That $2 billion has led to over $16 million worth of taxes for the state so far this year.

Given football betting’s popularity, Indiana could easily end up crossing the $3 billion mark by year’s end.

Two years of Indiana sports betting

Speaking of milestones, Indiana just passed its two-year sports betting anniversary.

Gov. Holcomb placed the state’s first legal bet back in September 2019. Pandemic speedbumps aside, it’s been mostly uphill since then.

Indiana’s lifetime sports betting handle is over $4 billion, and it isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.

August’s $215 million handle was an impressive one, but it looks even better when you compare it to this time last year.

Hoosiers wagered $169 million on sports in August 2020, and that’s with the reworked pandemic NBA schedule providing that month with an extra boost.

In short, Indiana’s market is still expanding. Football is one of the main causes of that continued growth.

Caesars Sportsbook picks up steam

One of the biggest changes from July to August was the popularity of Caesars Sportsbook.

The betting app rebranded from William Hill early on in August. The fresh coat of paint seems to have led to a dramatic increase in betting volume for the company.

William Hill pulled in $7.9 million worth of wagers in July. That number more than doubled to $16.8 million for Caesars in August.

That massive handle boost officially makes Caesars the fourth-most popular sportsbook in Indiana. Up until now, the company had been competing with BetRivers, PointsBet and Barstool for that honor.

Here’s a quick look at Indiana’s new top-five:

  1. DraftKings: $74.2 million
  2. FanDuel: $52.6 million
  3. BetMGM: $26.1 million
  4. Caesars: $16.8 million
  5. Barstool: $8.5 million

Caesars officially has its foot in the door with Indiana gamblers, but is that huge handle boost a temporary one?

A big company rebranding goes hand-in-hand with all sorts of special promotions and an advertising blitz. Both are great for attracting new bettors, but might not be great at making them stay around.

If Caesars starts to taper off on the extra publicity, that could potentially lead to its handle returning to normal levels.

Only time will tell, so at least for now, it looks like Caesars has finally found a way to separate itself from the middle of the pack in Indiana.

Indiana targets sports betting record

A new football season means that Indiana has a new record in the crosshairs.

The Hoosier State’s all-time high for betting in a single month is January’s $348 million worth of wagers. Indiana could end up beating that number in the near future.

It’s no secret that football is the most popular betting option around the US. Whether you’re betting on college football or the NFL, all of the numbers end up contributing to the overall handle.

New online sportsbooks coming to Indiana will also help fuel growth.

Hoosiers already have a dozen different legal betting apps to pick from, with more launching in the state before long.

SBK Sportsbook has been on its way to Indiana for the better part of the last year. It finally plans on launching sometime this month.

Many of these other companies also plan to open for business in Indiana before the end of 2021:

  • MaximBet
  • fubo Sportsbook
  • BetProphet
  • PlayUp
  • SI Sportsbook

New options will give gamblers in Indiana some more variety. The surge of fall football betting combined with new online sportsbooks could be enough to push the state into record territory.

Indiana is in a great position, which should make this football season a memorable one for the state’s sports betting market.

Photo by Dreamstime
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Jake Garza

Jake Garza is a US Gambling Industry Analyst for Catena Media. He specializes in Midwest sports betting and casino content. Prior to covering the legal gambling industry, he spent time as a professional sports writer, reporting on teams such as the Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts and Indiana Pacers. Garza is currently working as a Managing Editor for Play Indiana and PlayOhio, with previous stops at other well-known brands such as PlayIllinois and PlayMichigan. He has been covering the gambling industry since 2019, and currently works with a team of other journalists to provide comprehensive coverage of the legal U.S. gambling industry.

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