HomeHow basketball affects the sports betting market in Indiana

The state of Indiana has been one of the more thoroughly established sports betting markets in the United States. Shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court voted to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 in 2018, legislators in Indiana wasted little time legitimizing sports gambling in the state and bringing legal betting to their residents. By September 2019 when sports betting launched in the state, sportsbooks in Indiana were already handling over $35 million.

Sports betting a mature market in Indiana

As Indiana has had sports betting for four years now, it can be considered a mature market, meaning that operators are no longer as focused on attracting new customers with marketing campaigns and enticing sign-up bonuses. Instead, with Indianans having the option to bet on sports for nearly a half decade, the name of the game for sportsbooks now is customer retention, or ensuring that their patrons have the best experience possible and maintaining their business.

Being a mature market also means that Indiana has predictable trends for how sportsbooks will perform throughout the year. Operators now have a decent idea of what to expect month to month and year over year, while factoring in gradual growth as the industry is still fresh both in the state and the country overall.

For example, Indiana, like all states, can expect a significant bump in sports betting in January due to the college football bowl season, the NFL playoffs, and, of course, the Super Bowl. Then, in March, sportsbooks across the country see a huge jump in numbers thanks to the arrival of March Madness, the NCAA’s college basketball tournament that features 68 teams across the nation duking it out in perhaps the world’s most exciting sports extravaganza.

In December 2021, sportsbooks in Indiana handled $463 million and brought in over $26 million in revenue. In January 2022, those numbers jumped to $500 million and over $29 million respectively. By February, they dropped down to $409 million and over $22 million. In March, though, those figures came back up to $476 million and almost $33 million.

Not only are the rises in January and March expected behavior now, but February is also universally seen as a slow month for sports betting, with football over and basketball in the thick of their regular seasons. March is when basketball affects sports betting the most due to the NCAA tournament, but for a state as passionate about the sport as Indiana, the impact it can have on the industry can be seen at multiple points in the year.

How the NBA and college basketball affect sports betting in Indiana

For example, the start of the NBA playoffs in April acts as a buffer between the massive numbers of March and the summer, when sports and sports betting hit a seasonal lull. In April 2022, operators in Indiana still handled over $360 million and raked in $27.6 million in revenue. By May, with the Play-In Tournament and the first round of the postseason finished, sportsbooks handled under $308.5 million, over a 14 percent drop month to month.

By October, though, with the Indiana Pacers, the Indiana Hoosiers, and all the other fan-favorite basketball programs either underway or coming up around the corner, bettors flock back to their sportsbooks. The return of basketball in Indiana and many other states can build on the momentum of the return of football in the previous month. In September 2022, with both college football and the NFL in full swing, Indiana sportsbooks handled over $382 million and made over $50.5 million in revenue. By October, the handle flew even higher, reaching over $446 million.

While there are surely other factors, there’s no denying that the presence of basketball has a significant impact on the sports betting market in Indiana.

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