Indiana’s sports betting handle dropped significantly in March.
February brought in a record-setting $187 million in wagers for Indiana. March ended up with less than half of that total, landing at $74 million.
The last time the state brought in less than $90 million in wagers was back in September 2019, which was the very first month of legal sports betting in the Hoosier State. Indiana didn’t even have online sportsbooks back then.
However, that drop in handle is hardly an unexpected one.
COVID-19 took sports off the board for the majority of the month. With nothing to bet on, the state’s handle was inevitably going to take a hit.
March 2020 Indiana sports betting numbers
Here’s a look at the numbers that Indiana’s casinos were able to pull in during March:
|Licensee||Online Brand(s)||Total Handle||Online Handle||Retail Handle||Gross Revenue||State Tax|
|Ameristar East Chicago||DraftKings||$35,213,890||$33,087,455||$2,126,435||$2,658,851||$252,615|
|Harrah's Hoosier Park||$1,768,079||$0||$1,768,079||$32,459||$12,767|
|Caesars Southern Indiana||$800,758||$0||$800,758||-$25,689||$0|
March Madness cancellation was a big factor for the drop
Gamblers and operators alike were ready for the first March Madness tournament since Indiana legalized sports betting.
However, with the tournament canceled along with the rest of the country’s sporting events, the Hoosier State will have to wait until next year.
That cancelation is a huge loss for Indiana’s sportsbooks. It was expected to bring in even more revenue than the Super Bowl since the tournament has so many games and plays out over the course of a few weeks.
In Nevada alone, the 2019 tournament brought in almost $350 million in wagers. Nevada is a larger market, but Indiana was still prepped to bring in a big haul of its own.
Hoosiers had also already shown that they were ready for more basketball. Indiana bettors wagered over $60 million on basketball in January, and that number jumped up to $90 million in February. That $90 million in wagers comprised almost half of the state’s total handle.
The biggest basketball betting event of the year probably would have catapulted that number even higher.
There’s no way to know exactly how much money Indiana’s casinos lost out on, but it’s certainly a missed opportunity for the Hoosier State.
Hoosiers turned to more obscure sports for betting
With the typical sports betting staples no longer available, sportsbooks and bettors alike have gotten creative.
There’s betting available on things like table tennis and some of the more obscure European soccer leagues, but it’s slim pickings.
However, since they’re the only things left to bet on, those stranger sports made up a huge chunk of Indiana’s handle in March.
The Indiana Gaming Commission includes an “other” category on its monthly revenue reports that bundles up all the sports not named football, basketball, or baseball. That “other” category took in $20 million in wagers during March.
In terms of popularity, basketball was still Indiana’s top sport with nearly $35 million in wagers. That $20 million haul was enough to make that “other” category the runner-up.
Football and baseball combined barely brought in $1 million in wagers.
Until the typical sports betting options return, the popularity of betting on those more obscure sports will continue rising.
Expect another decline in April
Indiana’s handle in April will likely dip even more than it did during March. That will continue as long as the popular sports leagues are still in limbo.
The NBA was the first sports league to suspend its season on the night of March 11. That gave March an advantage that April won’t have since betting went on without cancelations for the first third of the month.
Indiana’s sportsbooks just don’t have a huge selection to offer gamblers right now.
As far as the more popular sports are concerned, there isn’t too much coming throughout the month. However, the NFL Draft will give football fans something to look forward to.
The UFC is also going to extreme lengths to continue operating without cancelations. At the very least, that gives sports fans one more betting option until the COVID-19 situation blows over.