LAS VEGAS, March 12, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — A somewhat disappointing Super Bowl for Indiana sportsbooks pushed February’s handle to less than $275 million, snapping a five-month streak of record wagers for the state. But fresh records will almost certainly be coming as Indiana gets set to host the entirety of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, according to PlayIndiana.
“Indiana remains a shining star among legal sports betting markets, even with a disappointing Super Bowl,” said Jessica Welman, analyst for PlayIndiana.com. “It is eye-popping to see a pullback, especially considering February marked the first full month of online sports betting in Michigan. But the market has continued to expand in spite of increased competition from Illinois, so this is likely a momentary blip explained most easily by the uniqueness of Indiana’s market.”
Indiana sportsbooks generated $273.9 million in February wagers, according to official reporting released Friday. That is up 46.3% from $187.2 million in February 2020. The month’s wagers fell well short of the record $348.2 million set in January.
Adjusted gross operator revenue fell to $17 million, yielding $1.6 million in state taxes, from $29.3 million in January. GOR was still up 52.9% from $11.1 million in February 2020.
Indiana bettors placed $18.8 million in wagers on football in February, compared with $77.6 million in January. Meanwhile, basketball generated $127.2 million in bets during the 28 days in February, up on a per-day basis from $133.2 million in January.
“With two years of data now, I think it’s fair to say that the Super Bowl does not seem to drive as much interest in Indiana as in other event-dominated sports betting markets,” said Dustin Gouker, analyst for PlayIndiana.com. “But last year, before the pandemic shut down sports, we saw Indiana’s love of basketball begin to shine. And this March, that might be particularly so.”
Indiana will be home to an unprecedented dynamic in the history of U.S. sports betting as the sole host of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Also, residents of Illinois, where betting on in-state college teams is barred, could cross the border to wager on local hopefuls Illinois and Loyola Chicago.
“Because this is the first time Indiana has offered legalized sports betting during March Madness, and because it is the sole host to the tournament, it is nearly impossible to project the exact impact of the games ahead of next week’s tip-off,” Gouker said. “Hosting the entire tournament will almost certainly create a surge in interest in wagering on the games. Ultimately, this will be a fascinating case study in the importance of local sporting events to bettors.”
In February, online betting generated $241 million, 88.4% of the state’s overall handle, which was up from 85.1% in January. DraftKings/Ameristar Casino led with $107.4 million in online bets, yielding $3.7 million in gross receipts. FanDuel/Blue Chip Casino’s $70.9 million handle led to a market-best $5 million in gross receipts.
Retail sportsbooks produced $32.9 million in bets, down from $41.3 million in February 2020. Hollywood Lawrenceburg, nearest Cincinnati, led retailers with $13.4 million in wagers.
“Cincinnati and Louisville remain important markets, and Chicago is still vital to Indiana’s retail outlets nearest the Windy City,” Welman said. “Indiana is more than capable of standing on its own, but out-of-state bettors still drive significant revenue even as Michigan and Illinois have grown into major markets with online and retail sportsbooks.”
For more: PlayIndiana.com/revenue
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Zack Hall, Catena Media, 775-338-0745,