Sports betting on the rise in Indiana, data shows

IN Focus: Indiana Politics

INDIANAPOLIS – State data shows sports betting is on the rise in Indiana.

In the midst of football season, big wins in Indiana don’t just happen on the field. They’re also found at businesses like Winner’s Circle in downtown Indianapolis, where Hoosiers are gambling on this week’s games.

“I found out that the game really doesn’t mean anything unless you’ve got a little bit on it,” said Rick Stahl, who lives in Indianapolis. “It’s a little bit exciting.”

At Winner’s Circle, sports betting has become at least half of the business, according to general manager Jarrod Rogers.

In September, Winner’s Circle saw a 25% increase in sports betting wagers compared to September 2020, Rogers said.

“The restrictions for COVID have lessened some, and so we’re able to operate at a fuller capacity,” Rogers said. “We also have more kiosks up and going. We have more ticket writers up and going.”

Data from the Indiana Gaming Commission shows some of the statewide gains in sports gambling.

September 2021 saw a 3% increase in in-person wagers and an 85% increase in wagers placed online compared to the same month last year.

For that same time frame, gross receipts, or the amount of money exchanged between customers and sportsbook operators, grew 65% for brick-and-mortar operations and 265% online.

Sports wagering tax revenue collected by the state more than doubled, with a 137% increase, year-over-year for the month of September.

“It’s exploded,” said Jimmy Allen, Indiana area manager for Caesars Sportsbook. “We went live two years ago with it. And everybody kind of was jumping in and getting their feet wet. And then the mobile apps started to hit.”

“Sports gaming businesses have spent a lot of time and effort and money to try to market themselves to consumers, so I think there’s probably a growing consumer awareness,” said Nathaniel Grow, associate professor of business law and ethics for the IU Kelley School of Business.

Grow said he expects the rise in sports betting to continue, especially online.

“Given the pandemic and given the ease of just firing up an app on your cell phone and placing a bet, I think that’s probably where the bulk of the future growth is,” he said.

According to state officials, 75% of the tax collected from sports gambling goes to the state’s general fund, and the other 25% goes toward prevention and treatment of compulsive gambling.

If you or someone you know struggles with compulsive gambling, resources can be found here.

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