Indiana online sportsbooks expand ahead of potential iGaming legalization
Indiana’s mobile sports betting market continues to expand with new launches ahead of a possible online casino gaming legalization push next year.
SBK sportsbook completed its “full” online launch in Indiana earlier this week, becoming the 14th legal mobile wagering option to go fully live in the state. SBK joins other recent launches from MaximBet and Hard Rock, bringing Indiana to the fourth-highest total number of legal sportsbooks after Colorado, New Jersey and Iowa.
Major brands including DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM and Caesars typically make up 85% of Indiana’s online sports betting handle. Other leading operators including BetRivers, PointsBet, Barstool and WynnBet are also live in the Hoosier State.
Betr, SuperBook and ClutchBet are among the operators that have expressed interest in an Indiana launch. Indiana’s regulatory structure would allow growing brands such as bet365 and BetFanatics to enter the market, though it’s not clear when or if they’d pursue licensure.
Indiana has taken in more than $9bn in handle since mobile wagering went live in September 2019. That has generated more than $700m in operator revenue and $66m in state taxes.
Indiana’s online sports betting growth comes as lawmakers are considering online casino gaming legalization next year.
Only five states – Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut and West Virginia – have multi-operator commercial iGaming markets. Delaware also has legal iGaming under the purview of the state lottery. Nevada permits real money online poker but no other digital casino gaming options.
A 2022 Spectrum Gaming study found Indiana found iGaming and digital sports betting together “create revenue synergies.” The study analyzed two national digital gaming operators that reported players who participate in both iGaming and sports betting “spend significantly more” than players who participate in only sports betting or only iGaming.
“With a mature casino industry and digital sports betting in place, Indiana is well positioned to integrate iGaming with its existing responsible-gaming measures, although additional funding should be dedicated for treatment services, according to the executive director of the Indiana Council on Problem Gambling,” the study found.
Spectrum’s analysis also found that online casino gaming appeals to younger demographics than traditional brick-and-mortar casinos. This, according to the study, prevents revenue cannibalization.
Sportsbook operators have increasingly pushed lawmakers nationwide in public and private to legalize online casino offerings such as slots, blackjack and other table games. Operating margins are typically several times greater than sports betting, which has a nationwide hold of around 7%.
Increased online casino gaming also increases gambling taxes for state governments. However, these games remain far more difficult to legalize politically.
Many elected officials worry online casino gaming legalization – which essentially allows eligible bettors with a mobile device to gamble anywhere within state lines – will fuel gambling addiction. Advocates say legalization and regulation can offer protections not found on the hundreds of unregulated, offshore gambling sites taking US customers now.
Indiana lawmakers are set to begin the 2023 legislative session in January. Republican state Sen. Jon Ford has said he will introduce a bill during the session. Republican Gov. John Holcomb signed his state’s sports betting legalization bill into law in 2019 but his support is unclear should a bill reach his desk.