SBK Officially Launches in Indiana, Plans Low-Hold Strategy to Gain Bettors

SBK has been in Indiana for a few months already, but the Smarkets online sportsbook earliler this week announced a “full launch” in the Hoosier State. To mark that occasion, the sports betting app is offering “zero-margin” odds for Thursday’s NFL game between the Indianapolis Colts and the Denver Broncos.

Smarkets Founder and CEO Jason Trost appearing in a commercial for Smarkets’ SBK online sportsbook. SBK announced a full launch in Indiana this week. (Image: SBK)

Just like it sounds, zero-margin means SBK is not taking any juice or hold on point spread and totals bets. As of early Thursday afternoon, the prices available at SBK were -108 (or bet $108 to net $100) on the Broncos giving three points, and +108 (bet $100 to net $108) on the Colts getting the points.

The company is also offering $100 in free bets if a new bettor makes a $20 wager on their first bet. However, Smarkets Founder and CEO Jason Trost said in a statement that bonuses are not what he believes will attract customers to SBK, which has also been in Colorado since 2020.

We are simply not like other operators; our focus is on providing the best odds possible and in-house product excellence, and we believe this ethos will win out in the long run,” he said.

According to OddsIndex, a sportsbook review site owned by Smarkets, SBK averaged a 1.5% margin on the NFL moneyline (or straight-up) bets during the first four weeks of the season. That’s less than half of DraftKings’ 3.8% hold, and no other sportsbook offered lower than 4.1%.

Available for Apple and Android mobile devices, SBK also offers a social network that will allow bettors to post their wagers and follow others who bet on the site.

Trost Says SBK Has ‘Momentum’

Founded in 2008, Smarkets has had a presence in Great Britain for years, and is primarily known for its sports betting exchange. SBK is also available in the UK, but company leaders are looking to grow its footprint in the US.

While the company went a couple of years between launches, Trost is optimistic SBK’s third state, Iowa, will come online soon. Smarkets announced earlier this year that it secured rights in that state through a deal with Affinity Interactive.

“We have a lot of momentum as a company right now – the launch in Indiana is just one of many more exciting milestones on the horizon,” he said.

Last year, Smarkets received “a significant minority investment” from Susquehanna Growth Equity that it said will help as it seeks to land market-access deals in other states.

About Indiana Sports Betting

SBK has market rights in Indiana through Full House Resorts’ Rising Star Casino & Resort. The online sportsbook received its launch authorization from the Indiana Gaming Commission on Feb. 28. But the company has been operating under a soft launch since then.

There are now 14 licensed online sports betting apps in Indiana. The most recent announcement came from MaximBet on Sept. 30. The Hard Rock Sportsbook went live there last month.

Indiana’s sportsbooks reported a handle of $238 million in August, with adjusted gaming revenues totaling $25.4 million. The Hoosier State has been one of the top states in the US for sports betting, and has seen its handle grow even as neighboring states Illinois and Michigan have come online as well.

The market, though, might shrink some starting in less than three months. Ohio, another neighboring state, is set to launch sports betting on Jan. 1.

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