Caitlin Clark Effect Boosts Indiana Sports Betting Handle

Posted on June 19, 2024

The Caitlin Clark Effect resulted in a sizable year-over-year basketball betting handle increase in Indiana last month.

Bettors showed their enthusiasm for the arrival of the Indiana Fever star guard to the Hoosier State as hoops wagering jumped 35% from May 2023. And while the Pacers probably had an effect as well, reaching the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in nine years, the Clark frenzy drove the surge, according to industry insiders.

One operator told Eilers & Krejcik Gaming that Clark helped WNBA wagering skyrocket this year, with a threefold increase year over year.

Bettors responding to Clark’s momentum

The boost in Indiana sports betting should come as no surprise. The same was seen in Iowa last year when Clark competed for the Iowa Hawkeyes. Iowa’s March Madness success also resulted in record betting on women’s sports.

Now that Clark is a member of the Indiana Fever, according to Eilers & Krejcik, one-third of the betting on the WNBA in May was on her and/or the Fever.

Even before she joined the Fever, Clark had some sportsbooks gearing up for her season. FanDuel rolled out a slate of Caitlin Clark specials in its sportsbook.

On the day of the WNBA Draft in April when Indiana made Clark the No. 1 overall pick, league Commissioner Cathy Engelbert told PlayIndiana that the Caitlin Clark Effect is real.

“It’s an important way to grow our viewership. The one thing I know about sports, you need household names, rivalries, and games of consequence. Those are the three things we’ve had over the past couple weeks, and hopefully, will continue into the WNBA season. Certainly, sports betting is something that attracts fans in.”

Clark being named May Rookie of the Month should keep the momentum going.

Just this past week, when the Fever guard faced another rookie superstar, the Chicago Sky’s Angel Reese, the CBS Sports broadcast garnered the highest viewership of any game in WNBA history with a peak of three million viewers.

DraftKings and FanDuel the biggest benefactors

Indiana’s sports betting handle in May increased nearly 28% year-over-year. Bettors wagered $283.4 million in May 2023 and $361.6 million in 2024.

National market leaders DraftKings Indiana and FanDuel Indiana dominated the state’s handling and revenue. DraftKings had 37% of the Indiana sports betting handle, while FanDuel took 40% of the revenue.

While the NBA season is now over, sports fans have two major sports to bet on now with the WNBA and MLB seasons in full swing. Additionally, the Olympics begin in mid-July.

Photo by AP Photo / Doug McSchooler
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Cheryl Coward

Cheryl Coward is a contributor for PlayIndiana with a background in sports journalism. She started her career as a news reporter in Washington, DC. She’s a die-hard women’s basketball fanatic and founded the website as a result of that passion.

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