The COVID-19 crisis was a major blow to Indiana’s seven-month-old sports wagering market.
On Thursday, the Indiana Gaming Commission reported that the sanctioned retail and online/mobile books handled $74.8 million in bets in March, a fall from the $187.1 million in wagers during February.
It was a decrease of 60%, a decline that was expected thanks to the near complete shutdown of the sports world. Indiana books missed out on the lucrative March Madness tournament.
From the first sportsbook opening in September through the end of March, Indiana’s nascent legal sports wagering market has seen $851.6 million in wagers, according to the state figures.
Indiana books reported $5.5 million in revenue off the $74.8 million in bets, down 50.4% compared to the $11.1 million in February. The state took in $522,000 in tax revenue from the winnings last month, compared to just over $1 million in February.
The state ordered all of the retail casinos to close on March 14. They remain closed with no reopening on the radar, but the public health crisis remains a fluid situation.
Online/mobile sportsbooks have remained operational, taking wagers on niche events such as table tennis and international soccer matches, for example, that have continued despite the global pandemic. It’s been extremely slim pickings for the online/mobile books. Online/mobile sports betting states New Jersey and Pennsylvania have enjoyed the existence of regulated online casinos to make up for the lack of sports.
Indiana online/mobile sportsbooks — FanDuel, DraftKings, BetRivers, PointsBet, BetMGM, and BetAmerica — took a combined $60.8 million in wagers last month. It was 81.9% of the total handle, a record percentage for Indiana’s industry.
Bets via the internet were $145.8 million in February, 77.9% of the total handle.
Here’s a look at each online/mobile book handle last month:
- DraftKings: $33,087,455
- FanDuel: $21,589,354
- BetRivers: $3,596,127
- BetMGM: $2,057,873
- PointsBet: $334,237
- BetAmerica: $132,568
The 2020 NFL draft is still slated to run later this month, which Indiana books are taking bets on. While it’s unclear whether football will start on time in the fall, the draft is a welcomed event for the legal sportsbooks. Belarusian and Nicaraguan soccer just aren’t cutting it.
Additionally, Indiana sportsbooks are eyeing the return of the UFC on April 18. The MMA promotion is planning to resume its calendar beginning with the UFC 249 card, slated to run in California.
“Considering the circumstances, this could become one of the most-watched UFC events ever,” said Mattias Stetz, COO of Rush Street Interactive, which operates BetRivers.
“The card is great and we have lines on all the fights,” he added.
In a presser, BetRivers called UFC 249 a “miraculous coup” during the shutdown, one that “could produce epic viewing and wagering results.”
The highly anticipated lightweight title fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferugson was scrapped after the former became stranded in his home country of Dagestan. American Justin Gaethje recently stepped in as the replacement, and he’s a slight underdog against Ferguson.