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Basketball More Popular Than Football With Indiana Bettors This January

It was a record January for Indiana sportsbooks, with over $170 million in wagers, including a big surge in betting on the NBA and NCAA basketball.

Indiana sports betting revenue jumped more than 10% over December.

The Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) released its statewide gambling revenue report today. The report includes casino revenue as well as retail and online sports betting.

According to the report, the Hoosier State topped for $170 million in handle for the first time ever, along with a flip-flop in which sport raked in the biggest handle.

By the numbers: Blue Chip singlehandedly creates handle growth

The state’s total handle for January was $170,813,254, signifying an 11.12% increased over December. According to the IGC’s data, Blue Chip Casino is responsible for the big jump. The casino’s handle increased from $40,145,926 in December to $52,211,849 in January.

The more-than-$12 million jump in revenue easily covered the roughly $9 million statewide handle increase over the same period of time.

Ameristar Casino (DraftKings) and Blue Chip (FanDuel) continued to lead the state in handle as well as taxable adjusted gross revenue (handle minus payouts), with Horseshoe Hammond a distant third:

  • Ameristar: $73.03 million (handle)/$6.01 million (AGR)
  • Blue Chip: $52.21 million/$2.81 million
  • Horseshoe Hammond: $13.70 million/$1.80 million

The remaining eight casinos had revenue that ranged from less than $100,000 to just over $600,000:

  • French Lick Resort: $8.30 million (handle)/$604,332 (AGR)
  • Hollywood Lawrenceburg: $7.73 million/$529,514
  • Harrah’s Hoosier Park: $5.19 million/$325,873
  • Indiana Grand: $4.99 million/$349,106
  • Caesars Southern Indiana: $2.39 million/$160,711
  • Tropicana Evansville: $1.99 million/$198,645
  • Belterra Casino: $934,724/$56,619
  • Rising Star Casino: $303,174/$0

The state earned $1.22 million in sports wagering tax.

Sport-by-sport handle analysis

January ended with football and basketball as the top handle generators, and rightly so. The NFL churned its way through the playoffs in January, and basketball got into its groove as the NBA and the NCAA marched closer to their postseason tourneys.

However, football bets dropped from $59.07 million in December to $36.68 million. As for the reason, the decline in handle is likely due to a few factors:

  • College football ended on Jan. 13 with the national title game
  • Only 10 NFL games took place because of the playoffs
  • No regional teams were in the NFL playoffs

Basketball’s handle, on the other hand, jumped from $42.25 million in December to $59.79 million in January. While the NBA was in full swing in December and January, college basketball hit its stride in the first month of the year. Bracketology emerged, conference battles started in January, and eyes were looking toward March Madness.

Aside from football and basketball, parlays on all available betting options pulled in $45.58 million, while “other” sports tallied $12.25 million.

What little baseball was available for betting pulled in $35,828 in handle.

Gap between basketball and football should jump in February

This month’s sports betting number will be an interesting situation. The IGC approved seven prop bets for the Super Bowl, a move that’s sure to increase action. How much action, of course, is the question. There’s a good chance football handle will see a drastic drop once more, exceeding the more than $20 million drop between December and January.

Basketball handle should more than make up for that decline though. NFL fans without any action are likely to consider the NBA, NCAA, and XFL as alternatives. The XFL should play a small role, though, with most of the action going toward college basketball and the NBA.

NCAA teams will finish up their regular season and preparing for the conference tournament. The NBA, meanwhile, is getting ready for the All-Star game this weekend and the second half of the season, one in which the Los Angeles Lakers are considered the favorites to win the title.

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