LAS VEGAS, June 11, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Bettors at Indiana's retail and online sportsbooks were more active in May compared to April, a welcome result after April's month-over-month slowdown. But even with the market advantages that helped spur the positive turn, Indiana's sports betting industry will have to wait until football season kicks off before betting volume returns to the highwater marks hit earlier this year, according to PlayIndiana.
"Even with the expected slowdown over the last two months, no Midwestern state has held its ground better than Indiana," said Nicole Russo, analyst for PlayIndiana.com. "Some of that can be attributed to local events driving interest, including the Indy 500. But the market's structural advantages that were built in before sports betting launched is also paying dividends."
Bettors placed $254.4 million in wagers in May at Indiana's retail and online sportsbooks, according to official reporting released Friday. That is up 7.6% from $236.4 million in April, even as May's handle remained well shy of the $316.7 million handle in March.
May's bets produced $18.9 million in adjusted gross revenue, down 6.1% from $20.1 million in April while yielding $1.8 million in state taxes. In May 2020, online retail and sportsbooks generated just $3.2 million in revenue on $37.3 million in bets.
The Indianapolis 500 in May helped drive wagering in Indiana more than in most legal jurisdictions. Secondly, Indiana sportsbooks have been aggressive in finding ways to take advantage of opportunities, such as aggressive promotional offerings for the Indiana Pacers' play-in tournament appearance. That helped push basketball betting to $82.4 million in May.
"In open and competitive betting markets such as Indiana, sportsbooks have significant incentive to find alternative events to fuel bettor interest even while the sports calendar is slower," said Jessica Welman, analyst for PlayIndiana.com. "Whether that means heavy promotion of a Pacers play-in game or future innovations built around the upcoming Olympics, operators will do what they can to hold their market position. And ultimately, that's good for the entire market."
Online betting accounted for 89.8%, or $228.4 million, of the state's handle, an increase from 88.4% in April.
DraftKings narrowly held its grip on the online market lead with $81.8 million in online bets, yielding $2.9 million in gross receipts. FanDuel was just behind with $79.3 million in bets and topped the market with $7.6 million in gross receipts.
Penn National's Barstool-branded online sportsbook launched on May 18 and produced $6.3 million in wagers, the sixth-highest betting volume among Indiana operators.
"Barstool is the most anticipated launch since the opening few months of the market, and for good reason," Welman said. "In states where Barstool operates, including Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Michigan, Barstool has proven to be a market disruptor, even if it hasn't overtaken the likes of FanDuel or DraftKings. May's results are a small sample size, but there is enough to envision that a similar dynamic is building in Indiana."
On the retail side, Hollywood Lawrenceburg, nearest to Cincinnati, led the retail market again with $8.4 million in wagers, even with $8.4 million in April.
"The retail market is beginning to show new life as pandemic concerns wane," Russo said. "Out-of-state bettors remain the lifeblood of the retail market. So long as Ohio and Kentucky resist legalizing sports betting, and pandemic-related restrictions don't return, retail sportsbooks should continue to return to health."
For more, visit PlayIndiana.com/revenue.
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Zack Hall, Catena Media, 775-338-0745, firstname.lastname@example.org
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