October 12, 2019 3 min read


Indiana Posts $35.2m in First Month Betting Handle

  • Indiana clocks $35.2 million in total wagers
  • State claims $813,103 in tax payments
  • Illinois hurries to come online after Indiana

Indiana first-months ports betting handle hits the record-breaking $35.2 million in September.

Sports Handle in Indiana Hits Record $35.2m

Indiana residents committed $35.2 million on sports wagers in September, the state’s gaming commission reported this week. According to Indiana Gaming Commission, the 10 casinos in operation in the state retained estimated $8.6 million of the total handle, as well as paid off $813,103 in tax on the same amount.

While the news was excellent for Indiana, Illinois felt the pressure from its neighbor, with sports betting revenue in the Prairie State not generating anything amid further policy investigations. Casinos in the Hoosier state, meanwhile, did pretty well, with the Horseshoe Hammond and Ameristar East Chicago claiming the bulk of the handle with $8.9 million and $5.4 million respectively.

The Chicago area boosted the overall operation of casinos, with ribbon-cutting ceremonies taking place all over the place. Several Chicago Bears legends were invited to assist to the events, including Brian Urlacher and Mike Ditka.

Indiana Beats Illinois to the Punch

Illinois has already had its gambling industry legalized, but the final wrinkles have proven too much to smooth out quickly.

The Illinois Gaming Board has simply stated that they were in no hurry to launch sports betting in the industry – whether it concerned retail, digital or in-play wagers. More importantly, the Board specified, was to get everything right.

When Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the expansion of the gambling industry, which sent scares across Indiana and perked up local business in Illinois, nobody expected that introducing the first casinos would take so long. Yet, little progress has been made since.

Indiana also has Interstate 90 with casinos perching conveniently next to the highway and siphoning off Illinois sports fans. The bid has paid off, because exceeding the $35-million threshold has turned out to be one of – if not the – largest first-month sports handle amassed by any state to launch its industry. Even New Jersey, which helped defeat PASPA in May 2018, posted mere $9 million in June that same year.

Illinois Not Happy with Developments

The success of Indian has naturally caused envy in the neighbors. Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford, remonstrated that the state was losing too much revenue while the Illinois Gaming Board was working through the motions to get the state’s betting up to scratch.

Not only that, but Gov. Pritzker’s team has predicted around $240 million paid in licenses upfront. Furthermore, the state would get in annually on $60 million in tax revenue. Back in Indiana, counties are already putting future revenue from sports betting in their budgets for next year.

Chicago alone should yield $87.5 million to Cook County. Naturally, every great start should be taken with a pinch of salt. When Illinois comes online, Indiana’s revenue is going to take a serious dip, and that’s something lawmakers should predict, especially when drawing next year’s budget.

Not least of all, the launch of Indiana’s sports betting operations coincided with the launch of the NFL Season, which is not a matter of chance. The state has truly prepared and is, as a result, reaping the fruit of its labors. Yet, Illinois is not out.


Simon is a freelance writer who specializes in gambling news and has been an author in the poker/casino scene for 10+ years. He brings valuable knowledge to the team and a different perspective, especially as a casual casino player.

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