Indiana bounces back as Illinois potentially offers a further boost

Indiana recovered from its February dip, which also broke a five-month streak of wagering records, by utilising the March Madness NCAA men’s basketball tournament, hosted in its entirety within The Hoosier State, to record its second highest wagering volume.

The state scored $316.7m in bets in March, which is up 15.6 per cent from $273.9m one month earlier. Only January’s record of $348.2m topped the month’s results, pushing Indiana’s lifetime handle to $3.1bn.

Sportsbooks generated $26.4m in revenue, a 55.4 per cent increase from $17m in February, and only topped by the $29.3m set in January. March’s revenue yielded $2.5m in state taxes.

Year-over-year, March’s handle was up 323.3 per cent from $74.8m in the same timeframe of 2020, a month marred by the pandemic-related shutdown of major US sports.

“We expect to see high volume across most legal US markets in March, but Indiana’s circumstances were unique with March Madness played entirely in Indiana,” said Jessica Welman, lead analyst at PlayIndiana

“It’s hard to know just how much it moved the needle, but March’s results were clearly fuelled by a huge volume of NCAA Tournament games all in one place and by a number of fans who travelled to Indiana and then bet legally as they attended games. We may never see a betting event quite like that ever again.”

However, a further boost moving forward may come from neighbouring Illinois, where Governor JB Pritzker has reinstated in-person registration for that state’s online sportsbooks. That decision, says analysts, could make traveling across the border from the Chicago area more appealing.

“Indiana has always been a market that has capitalized on large markets just across its borders,” added Nicole Russo, analyst for PlayIndiana

“Illinois’ decision could modestly move the needle, especially for the Chicago-area casinos that have always counted on out-of-state bettors as a significant portion of their customer base.”

DraftKings/Ameristar Casino led the state’s operators with $111.2m in online bets, up from $107.4m in February and accounting for 39.8 per cent of the state’s online handle. The month produced $8.5m in receipts, up from $3.7m in January. FanDuel/Blue Chip Casino was second with $92.4m in bets, up from $70.9m in February. 

$37.5 million in bets were placed at retail sportsbooks during the month, up from $32.9m in February. Hollywood Lawrenceburg led the market with $10.8m in wagers.