Indiana Sports Betting Handle Jumps To $170 Million After Unprecedented August

Posted on September 11, 2020

States with legal sports betting could be reporting some big months if bettors reacted to August‘s sports-packed calendar like they did in Indiana.

Indiana’s sports betting handle jumped 138.5% to $169 million in August compared to July. Revenue rose 47.7% to $9.8 million for an implied hold of 5.8%, according to the state report.

It marked the third-best month in terms of handle in the state’s fledgling industry that launched last September.

It’s also likely the last time Indiana, or any other US jurisdiction, will see such a jump in August. Sportsbooks are typically occupied by baseball bettors throughout most of August, but it’s a much different story this year. Along with MLB games, sportsbooks also had full slates of NHL and NBA games to boost betting after their seasons were interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

For now, though, the surge in betting following nearly four-and-a-half months of no major US team sports is a great sign for the betting industry’s health. That pent-up demand could lead Indiana and others to set handle and revenue records in September, which features another packed sports schedule and everyone’s favorite: betting on NFL games.

Basketball dominated Indiana sports betting

For the first time since March, an individual sport led Indiana sports betting handle.

For April through July, betting was dominated by the “other” category, which includes everything but baseball, basketball, football and parlays.

But basketball took the top spot in August with $55.2 million in handle. “Other” was third at $36.3 million, also behind parlays with $43.6 million.

Is big September a lock for Indiana?

Unfortunately for Indiana, not all of this momentum might carry into September and beyond.

Indiana’s sports betting results have been undoubtedly bolstered by business from Illinois. But now that sports betting in Illinois is underway with three mobile operators live, sportsbook operators might see some business shift across state lines.

There’s also the postponed Big Ten college football season. There will likely be a dropoff in college football betting with Indiana University, along with a number of big local schools like the universities of Michigan and Illinois, postponed until a later date.

Other states show similar August trends

Two of the earliest-reporting states, Iowa and West Virginia, also saw significant handle growth in August compared to July.

Iowa sports betting handle lept 120.1% to $50.3 million. Sports betting in West Virginia, meanwhile, saw handle nearly triple to $45.9 million last month.

Next up will be New Jersey, which reports its August results on Monday. NJ sports betting already rebounded big in July when handle rose 91% over June.

Photo by AJ Mast / Associated Press
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Matthew Waters

Matthew Waters is a reporter covering legal sports betting and the gambling industry. Previous stops include Fantini Research and various freelance jobs covering professional and amateur sports in Delaware and the Philadelphia area.

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