COVID-19 cost Indiana’s betting market hundreds of millions of dollars with the loss of March Madness, Major League Baseball, and the cash cow that is the NBA Playoffs.
However, that all changed in July. Indiana tallied roughly $70 million in sports betting handle last month. More importantly, the state’s strong July showing puts it above $1 billion in handle since its launch last fall.
It’s a milestone worth celebrating.
Without COVID-19, however, that number could be creeping toward $2 billion.
The ‘other’ shines next to baseball and basketball
Sports betting in Indiana drew around $6.6 million in revenue in July. At the state’s 9.5% tax rate, more than $600,000 was generated in taxes.
Indiana welcomed a new third-place finisher, BetMGM, which finished with $3.5 million in handle.
Those totals were great news for sportsbook operators who had suffered dismal numbers since shutdowns began in mid-March. At that time, bettors were left to wager on things like Korean baseball and German soccer.
That quiet period also cost the state $3.5 million in tax revenue.
It was a comeback effort that began with the return of American sports like NASCAR, golf and the UFC. Major League Soccer also played nationally-televised games in its own bubble in July.
Those sports, classified as “other” by the Indiana Gaming Commission, generated more than $33 million in handle last month.
The category was also helped by the return of the National Hockey League, which is poised to have a big month in August as the league starts its playoffs.
They also helped to raise $15.5 million in parlay, the second highest betting category in July.
Return of major sports a boon for Indiana sports betting handle
It is not the “other” category, or even parlays, that bring optimism in upcoming months.
Instead, it is the late July return of MLB and the NBA bubble that will likely lead the charge in late summer and fall months.
Baseball betting led to $14.5 million in handle in July following the MLB’s Opening Day on July 23.
Basketball generated $5.8 million despite the NBA being back for just two days at the end of July.
On tap are pennant races and what is shaping up to be a unique, yet intense, stretch of NBA playoff matchups.
And with the Indiana Pacers making noise behind sudden star T.J. Warren, Hoosiers are more locked in than ever on the state’s roundball obsession.
Future of football will impact Indiana betting
Despite July’s good news, it is America’s cash cow that remains the big unknown.
Will the NFL return? How about college football?
Those answers are so far largely unknown but they will have major implications.
Other conferences, like the Big 12, ACC and SEC, are geared up to play.
The NFL has also made its intentions to play clear despite widespread player opt-outs.
And it is their fate that could lead to merely good or especially great months for Indiana’s sports betting market later this year.