March Madness Betting Catapults Indiana To $316 Million Handle

Posted on April 12, 2021

Indiana made the most of March Madness by pulling in $316 million worth of sports betting wagers last month.

That massive Indiana betting handle was thanks to the NCAA Tournament and basketball betting.

Hoosiers wagered over $160 million on basketball alone throughout the month. That accounted for over half of the state’s entire handle.

Indiana March 2021 sports betting handle

Indiana’s $316 million worth of wagers translated to over $26 million in revenue for sportsbooks, and over $2.5 million in taxes for the state.

Here’s a look at where Indiana’s March handle came from:

LicenseeOnline Brand(s)Total HandleOnline HandleRetail HandleRevenueState Tax
Ameristar East ChicagoDraftKings | theScore Bet$120,414,215$114,224,535$6,189,680$9,177,459$871,859
Blue ChipFanDuel$92,409,340$91,260,954$1,148,386$6,932,373$658,575
Hollywood LawrenceburgPointsBet$23,984,447$13,143,104$10,841,343$3,318,480$315,256
Tropicana EvansvilleWilliam Hill$10,765,468$9,523,019$1,242,449$1,187,993$112,859
French LickBetRivers$9,794,400$9,159,690$634,710$868,617$82,519
Horseshoe HammondCaesars | Unibet$6,158,528$2,364,067$3,794,462$41,324$3,926
Indiana Grand$5,278,686$0$5,278,686$599,772$56,978
Caesars Southern Indiana$2,410,546$0$2,410,546$48,985$4,654
Rising StarBetAmerica$240,183$76,686$163,496$54,511$5,179

Indiana sports betting rebounds

March was a rebound month for the state.

Indiana took in a record-high $348 million in sports bets during January

However, the state’s handle dropped down to $273 million the following month.

That type of dip is normal in February for sports betting markets around the country.

The decrease was expected since there were fewer days to gamble in February due to the short month and only one football game to help carry the load.

March’s $316 million handle has things back on track.

With a solid month of betting numbers in hand, the state’s market has some momentum going again.

March Madness drives sports betting

It’s no secret that Hoosiers love basketball.

Indiana’s numbers put that love on full display.

A once-in-a-lifetime March Madness tournament created a huge basketball handle for the state.

Indiana’s $160 million basketball handle is a new record for the sport in a single month. January’s $133 million worth of basketball wagers was the previous record.

The greater Indianapolis area hosted every single March Madness game this year, plus the Big Ten Tournament.

March Madness is already one of the biggest sports betting events of the year since there are so many games taking place over the course of multiple weeks.

Toss in the fact that the entire tournament took place in Indiana, and the state’s sports betting market had a unique opportunity here.

The numbers could have been even larger if more of Indiana’s teams had made a tournament appearance.

Purdue was the only school from the state to make the March Madness cut, but the Boilermakers lost their first game against North Texas.

With no IU, Notre Dame or Butler in the mix, a lot of Indiana gamblers didn’t have their favorite squads as betting options this year.

Hoosiers betting on the games is one thing, but travelers could have made their own impact on the numbers.

Traveling March Madness gamblers

The NCAA Tournament attracts fans from around the country every year.

Hoops fans flocked to Indiana for the Big Dance, and that likely had an impact on the state’s massive basketball numbers.

Many of those fans came from states that don’t have legal sports betting yet.

That may have led to an extra batch of people gambling in Indiana that aren’t typically here.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to know exactly how much travelers contributed to the state’s handle. Indiana is happy to have the extra business regardless.

March Madness might be over, but traveling gamblers will still be pitching in over the next handful of months.

Illinois gamblers travel to Indiana

Indiana could see an increase in traveling gamblers from its western neighbor.

Gov. Pritzker just ended mobile sportsbook registration in Illinois.

Gamblers now have to travel to specific casinos to sign up for online sportsbooks, which is a major inconvenience.

That’s especially true if you don’t live nearby the right casino to sign up in-person.

The lack of online registration could lead to more Illinois gamblers traveling to Indiana to place their bets.

That was the case before Illinois legalized sports betting, and it could become a reality again now that the state has taken a big step backwards.

Busy April for Indiana sports betting

April will be another important month for Indiana gambling.

The state’s handle might not reach the same March Madness heights, but Indiana’s market will still be developing.

Adding new companies into the mix is a big part of that future growth.

WynnBET opened for business in Indiana on April 1, and Barstool Sportsbook is hoping to make its debut before the end of the month.

SBK Sportsbook might end up joining the party as well, so Indiana could potentially have 13 different online sportsbooks by the start of May.

Baseball’s return could also have an impact on April’s sports betting numbers.

MLB Opening Day was April 1, so the first full month of baseball will provide insight into how much betting interest Hoosiers have for the sport.

Since the pandemic delayed the start of the season in 2020, we’ve never had a full look at baseball’s impact on Indiana’s numbers at this time of the year.

So even though these are uncharted waters for Indiana, the state should be in for another notable month.

Photo by Associated Press
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Jake Garza

Jake Garza is a US Gambling Industry Analyst for Catena Media. He specializes in Midwest sports betting and casino content. Prior to covering the legal gambling industry, he spent time as a professional sports writer, reporting on teams such as the Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts and Indiana Pacers. Garza is currently working as a Managing Editor for PlayIndiana and PlayOhio, with previous stops at other well-known brands such as PlayIllinois and PlayMichigan. He has been covering the gambling industry since 2019, and currently works with a team of other journalists to provide comprehensive coverage of the legal U.S. gambling industry.

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