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April Sports Betting Slump Extends to Indiana

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April Sports Betting Slump Extends to Indiana
Downtown Indianapolis, Indiana. AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP)

The expected Super Bowl/March Madness legal sports betting after-effect is starting to come to light in the US legal sports betting industry with participating states now reporting their April wagering handles. Indiana, a frequent Top-5 producer of month-to-month handles is out with their April figures and unsurprisingly they reveal a significant step back.

Jessica Welman, lead analyst at PlayIndiana summed it up best when she said: “Even a high volume of regular season baseball and NBA basketball games can’t make up for a calendar devoid of NFL and college football games, or a major betting event like the NCAA Tournament.”

The Slide

Indiana sportsbooks reported a $236.4 million handle for the month of April, which is a 25.4% drop from March’s $316 million. April’s figures represent just how far the industry has slid from its peek of $348.2 million reported in January. April is the lowest sports betting total for the state since October when $230.9 million was taken in by sportsbooks.

Revenues followed the handle slide. The Indiana Gaming Commission reported that its sportsbooks made $20.1 million in April, a 23.1% dip from March’s $26.4 million. Tax contributions for Indiana state and local coffers came to $1.9 million.

What Kept the Handle Afloat

Indiana’s mobile betting apps continue to be responsible for the bulk of Indiana’s April sports betting handle. 88.1%, or $209.1 million of the overall $236.4 million handle came from the state’s betting apps – down 25.2% from $286.8 million from March.

Retail betting in Indiana contributed $27.3 million, which is also a healthy decline from the $37.5 million that casinos took in during March.

Void of NFL and largely absent of any college basketball, the Indiana sports betting scene was still forced to rely on mostly pro hoops for the bulk of its handle. Basketball was responsible for $76 million of the state’s April handle with parlays contributing $60.4 million, “Other” $50.5 million, baseball $44.5 million and football being responsible for $3.4 million.

Could New Blood Bring New Enthusiasm?

The Indiana legal sports betting scene is ripe with top-end providers and welcomed WynnBET which launched the state on April 1 and TwinSpires which relaunched April 27. Barstool Sports high profile book is due to launch at any time and is overdue for going live.

With new blood comes the need for the existing competition to step up their game. Hopes are that the new blood alone can energise the market during the lean summer months.

“Even as the market approaches its second birthday, operators remain bullish on Indiana,” said Nicole Russo, analyst for PlayIndiana. “With two of the highest-volume retail sportsbooks in the state already,

Barstool’s online app could really move the market. Fresh entries into the market will keep the largest operators in the state on their toes and vying for new customers.”

Sign of Things To Come

It looks as though April is a sign of things to come not only in Indiana but across the US legal sports betting spectrum. There is no denying the Super Bowl and March Madness hangover. Summer 2021 will have a few unexpected sporting events on the wagering menu however, so some optimism persists.

“This is the first time we get to see how Indiana will perform during the spring and summer months, and through one month Indiana is meeting expectations,” Nicole Russo said. “With the Olympics ahead and the NBA Playoffs pushed back a month, this could actually be a better summer than in most years. And Indiana’s sportsbooks are well-positioned to take advantage.”

Indiana has been as solid a legal sports betting market as there has been in the US, but the summer looks as though it is about to present a big challenge. The start of the NFL season and college basketball can’t come soon enough for the state’s sportsbooks.