No Record for Indiana in February as Sports Wagering Numbers Drop
- Many reasons contributed to the February dip, but continuing record-pace was unlikely
- Less days during calendar month plus loss of both NFL & NCAA football among reasons
- Great optimism for turnaround with “March Madness” looming & Final Four at home
After five consecutive months of record performance, the wagering handle declined in Indiana during February. Numbers from the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) indicated the state betting was $273.9 million. A notable drop from $348.2 wagered in January.
Adjusted gross operator revenue amounted to $17 million, sharply down from January’s $29.3 million monthly records. That represents about a 6.2% hold for the month. From that total $1.6 million was allocated to the state’s coffers.
Microscope on Reasons for Decline
The most important conclusion drawn is to be certain there is no situation of panic or alarm for the Hoosier State. After five consecutive record months, it would be impossible to keep going at a record pace.
The sharp decline is most likely attributed to the empty sports calendar after Super Bowl LV plus the obvious fact that the month of February has three fewer days than January.
Losing football was a major loss as the betting totals for the sports slumped 76% during the month from $77.6 million to $18.8 million. That kind of gap cannot be replaced by anyone sport.
More surprising, NBA and NCAA college basketball stood at $127.2 million, slightly less than the $133.2 million handles in January. The parlay category generated $66 million, with other sports accounting for $60 million. Baseball attracted only $91,808 in wagers.
Like all other US states, mobile wagering was the dominant force during the month, accounting for almost 90% of the total handle or $240 million. DraftKings Sportsbook in partnership with Ameristar Casino in Chicago was the leading sportsbook operator. They posted $107.4 million of the betting handle through their mobile retail sportsbook during February.
Second place went to FanDuel and the BlueChip Casino with $70.9 million for the month. Following them was BetMGM and the Belterra Casino with $33 million.
Online “casino “wagering not yet being legal in the state also probably had an effect on Indiana’s casino revenue total. The state’s thirteen casinos posted $135.6 million, also down from $167.6 million in January.
Unfortunately, it looks like people in Indiana will have to wait until 2022 for the next optimistic hope for lawmakers to consider the issue as two bills within the legislature have recently stalled. No doubt online wagering with casino games would have a dramatic effect on revenue numbers for the state.
Much Optimism for “March Madness”
A major turnaround forecasted for Indiana during March is an easy bet.
Bettors in Indiana will be able to bet on the NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament during the month for the first time in 2021 since its cancellation last year due to COVID-19. Additionally, wagering should be extra-charged due to the Final Four and NCAA Championship Game will be taking place in Indianapolis in later weeks.
There could also be a spill-over effect from nearby Illinois, where legalized betting on in-state college basketball teams is prohibited. Sports bettors looking to wager on #1 seeded Illinois could find an opportunity in Indiana to place their bets.
Economic forecasters expect the tournament to generate up to $100 million overall for Indiana’s struggling economy. IDC’s President Ryan Vaughn said the event was a “tremendous opportunity” for the city, especially as it recovers from the consequences of the pandemic.
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Larry Gibbs is both a seasoned journalist and a respected online gaming industry consultant. His wry commentary & sharp analysis have appeared in numerous top gaming and sports wagering publications. He has also served as Vice President of US Gaming Services, a marketing research organization with 15 years of experience in US online wagering. He has spoken at noted gaming industry conferences including G2E, GiGSE, and NCLGS.
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