Indiana Sports Betting Handle Plummets Minus March Madness

Indiana Sports Betting Handle Plummets Minus March Madness
© USA Today

In basketball-centric Indiana no month is bigger than March — unless sports and casinos have been shut down. Indiana reported $74,818,802 in monthly sports betting handle for March, less than half of February’s record total.

The Indiana sports betting handle was down 60% from February’s $187.2 million, according to figures posted Thursday by the Indiana Gaming Commission. Despite the overall handle being down, the mobile numbers were strong. Mobile betting and online betting at top Indiana sportsbooks was $60.8 million, which accounted for 81.3% of March’s handle. That was up from 78% of the handle in February.

Indiana was poised for another record-setting month in March with the college basketball postseason driving growth — this would have been the first March Madness with legal sports betting in Indiana. In addition, the Indiana Pacers of the NBA were winding down the regular season and looking forward to the playoffs, sitting as the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference.

But the coronavirus prompted the NCAA to cancel its men's and women's basketball tournaments on March 12, a day after the NBA shut down. Indiana was set to host Sweet 16 and Elite Eight games in the men’s and women’s tournament. The men were scheduled at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on March 26 and 28; the women March 27-30 at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne. The Big Ten’s men’s basketball tournament was also being played in Indianapolis at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. It was canceled March 12 after two games had been played.

More states will see declines in March when they file their revenue reports. West Virginia this week reported a 63% drop from February to March.

RELATED: Learn More About Indiana Sports Betting

Indiana’s adjusted sports betting gross revenue was $5.5 million in March, down 50.5% from February, according to the Indiana Gaming Commission report.

The 13 state-regulated gaming facilities had to close March 16 and remain closed "based on changing circumstances and in the interest of public health," according to the gaming commission.

Indiana Sports Betting Handle, March vs. February

ChangeDown 66%Down 58%Down 60%

Percentage Of Mobile Wagers Grows

While Indiana’s mobile sportsbooks haven't reached the industry benchmarks set by sportsbooks in New Jersey and in Pennsylvania, it’s getting close. New Jersey and Pennsylvania has seen more than 85% of the amount wagered with mobile and online bet.

With Indiana's mobile and online betting market topping 80% in March it has seen steady growth month-over-month since mobile betting started in September. February's mobile and online handle was $145.89 million or nearly 78% of the total handle. In January it was 72% of the total action in the state and 68% in December.

There are now six mobile sportsbooks in Indiana. BetMGM launched at the end of February and PointsBet started briefly in March before sports were shut down. BetMGM had just under $2.1 million while PointsBet was at just over $334,000.

Basketball Is Still King In Indiana

Betting on basketball was nearly half the state’s total handle in March. Almost $35 million was bet on the state’s favorite sport, according to the March report. That was 47% of the bets placed in the state. It was $90 million in February, or about 48%.

Parlay betting again had a strong month, with $17.8 million of the total or about 24%, slightly more than in February. But it was surpassed by betting on other sports, which accounted for $20 million.

As expected, football betting fell off the map because the NFL and college seasons ended. It accounted for about $741,000 of the handle.

Some states have other online gaming options besides sports betting. Online casino gaming is legal in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. Online poker sites are legal in those states plus Nevada. West Virginia and Michigan have legalized online casinos with launch dates scheduled for later this year.