ANDERSON — In a year defined by a pandemic, Indiana’s fledgling sports betting industry flourished, finishing 2020 with four consecutive months of record-setting revenue.
According to an analysis by PlayIndiana, a news and information website focusing on legalized gambling options several states, Indiana became the fifth state to surpass $300 million in bets in a month in December. For the year, Indiana sports books — including The Book at Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing & Casino — recorded more than $1.75 billion in bets.
“Nothing could have recouped the revenue losses from the cancellation of the NCAA Tournament and much of the baseball season,” said Jessica Welman, an analyst for PlayIndiana.com. “But a lot went right this fall for sports books.”
Despite a truncated college football season marked by dozens of games being postponed or canceled outright, the sport attracted substantial wagering — especially in the Hoosier state. where successful seasons for Notre Dame and Indiana helped drive activity.
“I don’t think any of us planned for a pandemic, so that did create some unknowns,” said Trent McIntosh, senior vice president and general manager of Hoosier Park. “It was really a pleasant surprise to see the growth — not fully unexpected, but it’s been nice to see.”
Indiana’s sports books took in $313.1 million in December, according to figures released last week. That represents a 93.5% increase from the $161.8 million reported in December 2019, and a nearly 25% gain over the previous handle record of $251.4 million in November.
McIntosh noted that those figures include data from online sports books, which have rebounded more quickly than their retail counterparts.
“We’ve absolutely seen growth in the sports books in Indiana,” he said. “That’s true for the brick-and-mortar buildings as well, and at Hoosier Park.”