Indiana’s sports betting handle went down in February after five consecutive months of record-breaking numbers.
Lack of Football Drags Down Sports Betting Handle
Indiana sports betting experienced a slight decrease in February. After five record months in a row, players in the state wagered $273.9 million, according to figures released by the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) on Friday. That corresponds to a 21% decrease compared to the previous month.
Adjusted gross operator revenue amounted to $17 million, down from January’s $29.3 million record. That represents about a 6.2% hold for the month. Some $1.6 million went to the state’s coffers.
The sharp decline might be attributed to the empty sports calendar after Super Bowl LV and the fact that February had fewer days than January. The lack of football was a major setback, as football bets slumped by nearly 76% in February from $77.6 million to $18.8 million.
Basketball stood at $127.2 million, slightly less than the $133.2 million handle in January. Parlays generated $66 million, with other sports accounting for $60 million. Baseball attracted $91,808 in bets.
Mobile sports betting continued as the major driver of handle in the state. In February, mobile betting generated about 90% of the $273.9 million handle or $240 million. DraftKings in partnership with the Ameristar Casino in Chicago was the leader in sports betting handle. The operator posted $107.4 million of wagers through their mobile retail sportsbook in February. DraftKings was closely followed by FanDuel and Blue Chip Casino with $70.9 million for February. The third place goes to BetMGM and the Belterra Casino with $33 million.
Online casino gambling is not legal in Indiana yet, which might be a reason for the decrease in casino revenue. The state’s 13 casinos posted $135.6 million, down from $167.6 million in January.
March Madness to Boost Wagers?
Indiana will be able to bet on March Madness for the first time in 2021 since last year the tournament was canceled due to Covid-19. Moreover, the state could be the biggest benefactor as the whole event will take place in the Indianapolis area over the upcoming weeks.
In addition, residents of Illinois, where betting on in-state college teams is prohibited, could place a bet on their No. 1-seeded University of Illinois men’s basketball team. The 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament could boost college basketball betting in Indiana to levels no single jurisdiction has ever achieved.
Experts say that the tournament is expected to generate up to $100 million for Indiana’s struggling economy. Indiana Sports Corp. President Ryan Vaughn said the event was a “tremendous opportunity” for the city especially as it is still recovering from the consequences of the pandemic.