The data doesn’t lie. The states that don’t have sports betting or the states that don’t offer mobile options are really missing out. We did see some positive election results in 2019 regarding the future expansion of sports betting, but it is still a slow and arduous process for too many states. Indiana is not one of those states. The Hoosier State went live with mobile sports betting in the month of October. We’ll be eagerly waiting to see what the online figures look like for November with college basketball going on, but suffice it to say that mobile betting was a tremendous success in its first month with the NFL and college football in full swing, as well as the NBA, the NHL, and the MLB playoffs.
We talked about Indiana’s revenues for the month of September and how good they were, despite the fact that all bets had to be made in person at one of the states several sportsbooks. Not surprisingly, the largest handles came near the border, as the Hammond-area casinos did extremely well thanks to the Chicago crowd and the sportsbooks nearest Louisville, Kentucky and Cincinnati, Ohio also rated very well. So, too, did the retail sportsbooks near Indianapolis.
With mobile, the entire state has been opened up in such a way that those living in border towns and even those within the state that don’t want to be bothered with a trip to a brick-and-mortar sportsbook can simply bet from anywhere within Indiana. That means that those Chicagoland residents just have to hit up a rest stop or a parking lot just inside the state line to place a bet. Those that don’t want to battle traffic in Indy can just bet from the couch or the workplace. Those in Cincinnati and Louisville don’t have to go to Belterra, Hollywood Lawrenceburg, or Indiana Grand. They can just make the short drive across the border and bet.
Now that you know the background, let’s look at the figures. They are quite eye-opening. October’s handle was more than 2.6 times higher than the September handle. September came in at $35,215,416. The October handle came in at $91,697,393. The taxable revenue took a sizable leap from $8,558,974 to around $11.5 million.
Ameristar Casino, which is one of the two closest properties to Chicago along with Horseshoe Hammond, is paired with DraftKings Sportsbook to provide a mobile app for those in the state. That operator accounted for about half of the handle in the state.
We knew that the first month of mobile sports betting was going to be substantial. We even discussed it in our review of the DraftKings Sportsbook app for Indiana. The state only began taking retail sportsbook wagers on September 1, so the turnaround to offer mobile was relatively quick, but expediting the process was clearly the right decision given how much the handle increased and how much more taxable revenue was created.
With a sports wagering tax just shy of 10% in Indiana, the handle increase from $8.5 million and change to $11.5 million represents an increase of roughly $300,000 in additional funds for the state from September to October and around $1.1 million for the state in the month of October. In two months with legalized sports wagering, Indiana has raked in a little over $1.9 million in taxes.
How other states can continue sitting on the sidelines is mind-boggling, but there are a lot of hurdles that these states do need to overcome. After all, many thought that Pennsylvania’s tax rate would be cost-prohibitive, but legal wagering is thriving and the state is happy with how things are going. Everything seems to be going along swimmingly in Iowa and in West Virginia. New Jersey, where all of this started, has pulled in enormous handles with the help of the massive New York City metro area.
These numbers are only going to continue to swell. October 3 was actually the launch date, so three days of revenue were missed and FanDuel went live late in the month. With college basketball season in full swing and continued football action across the NFL and college football, expect even more growth for November. Growth that neighboring states simply cannot ignore.