The return of consistent sports has meant a lot to a lot of people. We welcome the distractions in our daily lives and sports are a major cash cow for a lot of direct and indirect industries. We need sports as a society and as an economy for so many different reasons and that may be more evident than ever as we still deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The bean counters for each state are also realizing how much sports betting helps. That was especially true in the state of Indiana in December, as the sports betting handle rose to record highs and another robust month of tax revenue helped to offset some of the financial shortfalls within the state budget.
States have had to shell out so much money to help businesses and individuals throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve seen some states consider sports betting legislation as a means of filling in some of those monetary gaps. Indiana has had sports betting for a long time and was one of the earliest states to allow online and mobile wagering after the trailblazers like New Jersey, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.
The total handle in Indiana set an all-time record in December with over $313 million in wagers. That was up just shy of 25% from November. December marked the first month of the NBA season and the delayed college football season played a big part alongside the NFL and college basketball. There were a lot of events to wager on and bettors in Indiana did exactly that.
The mobile handle was over $269 million to also set a record high in the state. Astute readers will notice that about 86% of the handle in Indiana was from mobile and online wagering. States with retail-only wagering or those considering a restrictive mobile and online environment (cough, New York, cough) should take notice themselves.
While the tax revenue per the official Indiana report was down about a million dollars from November, it was still another enormous month for the Hoosier State and you can bet that things will be even bigger next fall with a more traditional sports year.
As far as revenue goes, the taxable amount was just above $24.3 million and resulted in more than $2.3 million in tax revenue for the state. Year-to-date, Indiana has taken in $1,236,467,298. Yes, those are three commas. Indiana took in over $1.2 billion in handle during 2020.
And that was a year in which the pandemic shortened the baseball season by more than 60%. A year without March Madness. A year with a shortened college football season and a watered-down bowl season. It also doesn’t even include the betting numbers from the College Football Playoff games or the other bowl games played after the New Year.
Not surprisingly, the DraftKings Sportsbook at the Ameristar East Chicago was the most popular place to bet through with more than $125 million of the handle. The Blue Chip Casino, a FanDuel sportsbook, was next with more than $80 million.
Even though January won’t have the college football or NFL volume, the NFL Playoffs and the Super Bowl should keep the football numbers high, along with record-setting handles for Ohio State vs. Alabama and the other Playoff Semifinals. Just shy of $102 million was bet on football in Indiana in December, with $89.7 million on basketball. With a full month of the NBA, plus the ongoing college basketball season, that number should increase.
The sky certainly appears to be the limit for Indiana sports betting and another big month of numbers preceded by dollar signs is a terrific development for the Hoosier State.