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COVID-19 And Re-Opening of Midwest Casinos

COVID-19 And Re-Opening of Midwest Casinos

by Ryan BurksSeptember 19, 2020

The casino and sports betting industries took a huge hit during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but that loss was particularly felt in the Midwest. The states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, and Michigan were all experiencing growth in the gaming and sports betting industries before the pandemic started.

Indiana and Iowa had launched sports betting in 2019, while Illinois and Michigan launched in 2020. Illinois and Michigan announced expanded gaming laws late in 2019, and they were expected to see huge numbers in 2020.

Casinos throughout these four states have started to re-open, though there are new restrictions in place. With the return of casinos, retail sports betting numbers have started to rise again as well.

Several of the biggest names in the sports betting industry have targeted the Midwest region of the United States, which has created some competitive markets. Mobile sports betting is also available in all four states except Michigan, and that continues to be the most popular way to bet.

The return of live sports throughout the United States has also helped all of these markets, especially the kickoff of the NFL season. New Jersey, Nevada, and Pennsylvania continue to lead the industry, but these four states are becoming real threats.

Mobile Registration Hurting Iowa

The state of Iowa just released their sports betting handle figure from August, and it was a 120 percent increase over July. Iowa sportsbooks saw more than $50.3 million in sports handle, which is very close to pre-pandemic numbers.

Sports betting handle in Iowa during February was just over $57 million. Mobile sports betting represented almost 70 percent of the handle in August, and those numbers were also up as well.

FanDuel Sportsbook recently launched in Iowa, joining a long list of other operators. Iowa does have an in-person registration requirement when signing up for a mobile account, but that will go away on Jan. 1, 2021.

Indiana Posts Monster August Numbers

Indiana was able to post some impressive numbers throughout the pandemic, but those numbers took a massive jump in August. Sports betting handle was over $169 million in August, which was a 140 percent jump from July.

Sports betting revenue was also up almost 50 percent, as the state saw almost $10 million in sports betting revenue. Basketball brought in the most number of bets during August, but football is expected to dominate in September.

The state of Indiana went over the $1 billion mark in sports betting handle in July, just 10 months after the state launched sports betting on Sept. 1, 2019.

Illinois, Michigan Closing the Gap

Illinois and Michigan both launched sports betting right around the same time in March, but the industry came to a standstill when the casinos were forced to close. Those closures kept the sports betting industry down for more than three months, as did the cancellation of live sports.

Illinois got a boost in sports betting when Governor JB Pritzker removed the in-person registration requirement for sports bettors. Rivers Casino in Des Plaines was able to launch its mobile app, BetRivers, and the sports betting industry was back open.

DraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet, and now William Hill have all joined Illinois with mobile sports betting apps, and Illinois has seen some solid numbers. The Illinois Gaming Board announced that sportsbooks in Illinois brought in more than $61.8 million in combined sports betting handle since the industry was launched.

Michigan has yet to launch mobile sports betting, and there are just four physical sportsbooks open in the state. They need to move forward with the process before they fall even further behind the rest of the Midwest. Mobile sports betting is expected to launch at some point in early 2021, and Michigan should become a major player in the Midwest.

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About The Author
Ryan Burks
Ryan has been writing sports betting content and industry news pieces for more than 3 years. He stays on top of all of the latest industry news as well as providing sports betting strategy articles and opinion pieces. Ryan is a former college basketball player and someone that continues to participate in sports to this day. He is a die-hard fan of the Chicago Cubs and Chicago Blackhawks and also roots for the Fighting Illini. Ryan currently resides in Illinois.