Recently-released reports on Indiana betting handle show Hoosiers placed a record number of sports bets in October.
For the second consecutive month, Indiana sports betting handle broke the $200 million mark.
Last month, the sports wagering handle topped $230 million, creating $2 million in tax revenue. That was a bump over the $207 million wagered in September, a previous record.
October included intensely popular stretches, including MLB Playoffs and World Series, NBA Finals, and the thick of the NFL and college football seasons.
The record month also coincided with the continued growth of Indiana’s sports betting apps.
That market comes with increased awareness boosted by advertising campaigns and solidified social acceptance more than a year after sports betting’s legalization.
Football leads the charge for Indiana betting handle
Handle totals by sport did not present any surprises in October.
Football remains king. And bettors like parlays.
- Football: $84.7 million
- Parlay: $61.1 million
- Other: $45.9 million
- Baseball: $26.6 million
- Basketball: $10.8 million
Football betting was undoubtedly bolstered by the return in October of Big Ten football, including the emergence of an Indiana University team that has grabbed the nation’s attention.
Football has again jumped basketball and baseball with its growing year-to-date figure ($135 million), which of course dates back to last year’s playoffs and Super Bowl. Other ($158 million) and parlay ($170 million) have generated the most bets in 2020.
Expect football’s betting totals to continue exploding through the remainder of 2020 as both college football and the NFL navigate their second halves.
Things remain interesting in Indiana when it comes to football. The Colts battle for an AFC South division title while Notre Dame and IU both dream of historic postseason success.
DraftKings retains place atop Hoosier sportsbooks
Like football, fans can bet on DraftKings to finish each month at the top of the pile.
That stands true despite growing competition.
Here is how sportsbooks stacked up in Indiana in October:
- DraftKings: $90.5 million
- FanDuel: $63.6 million
- BetMGM: $20 million
- BetRivers: $7.8 million
- PointsBet: $7 million
DraftKings’ dominance is not a surprise.
The sportsbook has become by far the highest-profile brand in America, to the point it is the “Google” of sports betting and daily fantasy for many casual fans.
DraftKings retains its most-popular rank despite more concerted efforts by other sportsbooks to reach out specifically to Hoosiers.
Take, for example, FanDuel’s partnership with popular former Colts punter Pat McAfee.
Or deals offered by PointsBet, like Thursday’s +41 House Booster deal offered on the Colts’ Thursday Night Football game against the Titans.
Despite those deals, DraftKings reigns.
Don’t expect that to change soon.
How could coronavirus vaccine impact sports betting future?
On its surface, Pfizer’s announcement this week of a 90-percent-effective vaccine candidate has little to do with sports betting.
The COVID-19 vaccine, hailed by medical professionals as the best chance yet at controlling the pandemic, could roll out next month and be available to all Americans by April.
Its reveal has boosted the stock market and spawned cautious optimism across the nation.
There is finally a light at the end of the tunnel.
But what does it mean for sports wagering?
Possibly a lot.
Similar to the stock market, sportsbooks need interest and confidence in their products. A vaccine would be a huge development for both.
Like leagues, sportsbooks need eyeballs on sports
Owners, specifically in the MLB, have made clear their unhappiness with the money lost holding games without fans.
A need to limit those lost funds has even motivated the NBA to return by Christmas, although, again, games are likely to start in empty arenas.
Many NFL teams have allowed partial crowds to attend in person. But the lack of citywide game-day celebrations has caused financial pain for teams and area residents. That stands especially true for local economies reliant on local college football teams.
While American sports have so far survived COVID-19, it may not be sustainable in the long term.
How long before owners take drastic action to limit losses? Until local economies refocus their resources?
How long before fans disengage from the uncertainty of postponed football games and opted-out players, and the malaise caused by COVID-19’s presence?
Luckily, it appears those questions may not need to be asked in earnest.
Good news regarding the virus is good news for sportsbooks and sports teams.
Sportsbooks need high levels of interest as much as the leagues, who in many instances are comprised of sportsbook partners, including the Colts.
Sports betting markets have so far weathered the storm. But there’s an end date to everything.
Let’s hope the coronavirus finds that date first.