NCAA basketball tournament pushes Indiana sports wagering over $300M in March

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The annual NCAA basketball tournament pushed sports wagering over $300 million in Indiana in March., citing state data, reported Indiana sportsbooks brought in $316.7 million in wagers in March. It was the second highest monthly total for Indiana and up 15.6% from $273.9 million in February.

January’s sports wagering in Indiana totaled $348.2 million.

“We expect to see high volume across most legal U.S. 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 fueled by a huge volume of NCAA Tournament games all in one place and by a number of fans who traveled to Indiana and then bet legally as they attended games.”

Welman said it is unlikely a similar betting event will happen again. 

Indiana sportsbooks generated $26.4 million in revenue, a 55.4% increase from $17 million in February, and only topped by the record $29.3 million set in January.

March’s revenue yielded $2.5 million in state taxes.

Year-over-year, March’s handle was up 323.3% from $74.8 million in March 2020, a month marred by the pandemic-related shutdown of major U.S. sports, including the NCAA Tournament. Revenue rose 379.5% year-over-year from $5.5 million in March 2020.

“What a difference a year makes, even if comparing this year to last year is apples and oranges,” said Nicole Russo, analyst for PlayIndiana. “Beyond the shutdowns, so much has changed in Indiana’s landscape (and) yet, the state continues to fare well in large part because its regulatory framework has been fair and unlike its neighbors in Illinois, consistent. That has created a resilient state industry able to withstand increased competition from neighboring states and a brutal pandemic.” said online betting accounted for 88.1%, or $279.2 million, of the state’s handle, down from 88.4% in February. A total of $160.6 million of March’s bets were on basketball, which came after Purdue, the lone Indiana representative in the NCAA Tournament among the state’s 10 Division I men’s programs, was knocked out in the first round.

DraftKings/Ameristar Casino led the state’s operators with $111.2 million in online bets, up from $107.4 million in February and accounting for 39.8% of the state’s online handle. The month produced $8.5 million in receipts, up from $3.7 million in January.

FanDuel/Blue Chip Casino was second with $92.4 million in bets, up from $70.9 million in February. That produced $6.8 million in receipts, up from $5 million.


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