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US – Indiana sportsbooks have bright future with casinos returning

By - 13 July 2020

Indiana sportsbooks hit a typical early-summer lull, one exasperated by the continued hiatus of major American sports, according to PlayIndiana.

June’s $29.8m handle was shy by $145m of what would have been expected with a full menu of summer sports, according to PlayIndiana estimates. But with an uptick in futures betting, major sports on the near horizon, and the reopening of retail casinos and sportsbooks, the industry still inched closer to normal.

“June historically is a slow month for sports betting, but the return of major sports are huge for Indiana’s sportsbooks, obviously, and we already see the momentum with a boost in futures betting,” said Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for PlayIndiana.com. “A surge in betting should come as major sports move closer. In fact, with pent-up demand and truncated seasons that shorten the wait for a potential payout, futures betting could prove particularly enticing.”

June’s handle was down 20.1 per cent from $37.3m in May, but up 13.3 per cent from $26.3m in April, according to official reporting released Friday. The month produced $2.9 million in adjusted gross revenue, down 8.1 per cent from $3.2m in May, and yielded $277,601 in tax revenue for the state.

Bets on the PGA Tour, auto racing, European soccer, hockey futures, and others — classified by Indiana simply as “other” than football, basketball, and baseball — produced $20.4m in June, down from $30.5m in May. But bets on the three major American team sports were up significantly — to $3.3 million in June from $1.4 million in May — fuelled mostly by bets on baseball, which drew more than $2m alone.

“Sportsbooks have done an excellent job over the last few months in keeping bettors engaged with unconventional betting sports, but those sports can’t replace the loss of basketball and baseball,” said Jessica Welman, analyst for PlayIndiana.com. “But the return of baseball and basketball, and local interest with the return of the Indiana Pacers and Chicago-area teams, July should bring a big step toward recovery.”

With casinos reopening, June marked the return of retail sports betting. But that produced a relatively tiny $558,970 handle from in-person wagers, the first since March. A tepid reopening of in-person betting was expected with the sports world still trying to restart, but it is still an important milestone.

Hollywood Casino – Lawrenceburg led the market with $323,968 in handle.

“The reopening of the retail market is important not only because it means significant new revenue for operators, but it also signals that the gaming industry is on the mend,” Mr. Gouker said. “Many challenges lie ahead for the industry, and the revenue lost can’t instantly be replaced. But things are headed in the right direction.”

The online market accounted for 98 per cent, or $29.1m, of June’s handle. DraftKings/Ameristar East Chicago led its online competitors with $18.2m in bets, down from $20.1m in May. That handle yielded $1.6m in gross receipts, down from $1.8m. FanDuel/Blue Chip Casino, Hotel & Spa remained second with its $7.9m handle in June, down from $12.3m, resulting in an $839,056 win, down from $1.1m.

The online market leaders were followed by BetRivers/French Lick Resort ($1.3m handle, down from $2.4m; $157,889 win, down from $168,721)and BetMGM/Belterra Casino Resort ($1.1m handle, down from $1.5m; $132,133 win, up/down from $123,467)

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