Indiana’s retail and online sportsbooks encountered major negative impacts on the Coronavirus shutdown within the first weeks, with PlayIndiana analysts predicting a $125-million decline in wagers within March.
With no imminent end in sight, the loss of March Madness from the NCAA is said to have proved ‘particularly damaging’ as the state progressed into its first month of betting of over $200m.
Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for PlayIndiana.com commented: “This is an unprecedented stoppage for legal sportsbooks, and there is no playbook for them to follow to help manage the crisis.
“Obviously, the sports betting industry is just one facet in a crisis that is affecting us all, too often tragically. But it is a business that employs hundreds in Indiana and generates millions in state taxes. And the bottom line is that there will be no significant relief until the sports world begins to open back up.”
In March wagers, instead, $74.8 m was produced, down 60 percent from the February record of $187.2 m, according to official reporting. Before March 11, when the sports world started shutdown, almost all of the handle was created.
The March bets yielded $5.5 million in adjusted gross revenue, down 50.5 percent from $11.9 million in February, and $522,0825 in tax revenue for the state.
Jessica Welman, a PlayIndiana.com analyst said: “There is no way to replace the revenue that would have been generated from the NCAA tournament, which in legal jurisdictions generates more action than the Super Bowl.
“The NCAA tournament can’t be rescheduled, but professional leagues are beginning to draw plans to begin games again. We still don’t know what that looks like or when it will happen. Whether spectators are there to watch in-person or not, though, online sportsbooks should again be able to attract bettors, which will be welcome news for the industry.”
Online sportsbooks produced 81.3 percent of the state’s handle in March, or $60.8 million, with DraftKings and Ameristar Casino leading the market with $33.1 million, down from $74.1 million a month earlier. Horseshoe Hammond has led the retail market with bets of $3.4 m down from $12.4 m.
“Online sportsbooks will bounce back more quickly than their retail counterparts, which face a much more uncertain future as the coronavirus pandemic continues,” Gouker added.
“In states where online casino games and poker are legal, such as New Jersey and Pennsylvania, casino operators have had a bit softer landing. But Indiana has really borne the brunt of this crisis, unfortunately.”