Sports betting industry heats up for March Madness

Joe Berra

The NCAA Tournament is, after the Super Bowl, the most bet event in North America. The sports betting industry heats up for March Madness.

Key Points

– The sports betting industry was alive and well on the West Coast last month.

– A number of sportsbooks are open or are ready to launch in several East coast states.

Sports Betting Industry Heats Up for March Madness

The sports betting industry was hot again this week. The industry gained another market in the Northeast region of the U.S. just before the start of March Madness. Here’s a recap of the week’s action.

Massachusetts Launches Digital Component 

The mobile sports betting market in the Bay State went live on Friday, March 10, at 10 a.m. Six sportsbook operators went live in the state, including Barstool Sportsbook, BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, FanDuel, and WynnBET.

In joining Bally Bet, Betway, and Fanatics; Betr deferred its launch on Wednesday due to a temporary license issue. This week numerous bookmakers extended partnerships with a couple of professional sports franchises to solidify their presence in the state.

BetMGM partnered with the Boston Red Sox, while FanDuel announced a deal with the Boston Bruins. It’s still early in the game. These are just the first of what is likely to be many agreements between sportsbooks and professional sports franchises. There are a number of  potential deals coming in the foreseeable future.

Massachusetts has strengthened its approach to combat problem gambling and promote more avenues for responsible gaming in the state. According to the rules signed into law, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) can license up to 15 digital platforms in the state.

Seven approved licenses are for standalone sportsbooks, and six are tethered to existing casinos. Each gaming facility can partner with two platforms and two tethered-to-horse racetracks.

In the current stage, the commission has issued ten temporary licenses through four licensees. Bally Bet, Betr, Betway, and Fanatics did not go live on Friday in Massachusetts with the other six sportsbooks that did. All four will go live at a later date.

Ohio Cannibalizing Indiana’s Sports Betting Industry 

The Indiana Gaming Commission reported a monthly handle of $356.2 million for February, which signified a decline of 12 percent compared to its year-over-year result of $409 million. It is believed that the primary cause is the universal launch of the Ohio sports betting industry. 

This marked the second consecutive decline in Indiana’s sports betting handle number since the fourth quarter ended in 2022. In addition, betting failed to reach $400 million for the first time since last September.

For February, the sportsbook operators in the Hoosier State registered $27.7 million in adjusted revenue and posted a hold rate of 7.7 percent. The numbers may not be as strong as they once were, but the win rate is half a point higher than the national average of 7.2 percent. 

Despite the inevitable decline, the state collected $2.8 million in tax receipts for the month. Indiana is experiencing similar results to what was taking place in New Jersey after New York entered the industry. Consumers don’t have to cross state lines to place wagers throughout the year.

Basketball Still King in Hoosier State

Basketball was Indiana’s most popular bet, accounting for nearly $166 million. That comes as no surprise to a state known for its basketball at all levels. 

The broad category of “parlay” accounted for almost $100 million in betting in Indiana for the month. Football brought in $20.5 million, while “other” categories brought in $69 million.

Regarding market share, DraftKings led in terms of handle again by accepting $119.5 million, and rival FanDuel followed with $112.8 million. Regardless of the results, FanDuel posted a higher win rate of 12 percent, while DraftKings fell short with a 7.2 percent hold.

Caesars jumped BetMGM to round out the top three by accepting $33.4 million in wagers over BetMGM’s $31.4 million. However, the outcome is a tale of two halves: BetMGM’s hold rate was nine percent, while Caesars sported an abysmal 2.8 percent for the month.

The next largest handle came from BetRivers at $11.7 million based on a five percent win rate, followed by Barstool Sportsbook at $10 million with a 4.5 percent hold rate. A total of $5.5 million was handled by Hard Rock; $2 million by WynnBet; $896,788 by Unibet; $502,340 by Betway; and $70,248 by Bally Bet.

Maryland’s February Average Betting Volume Slows Down 

The sports betting industry in the Old Line State declined last month as operators combined to accumulate a handle of $340 million. Still, the hold rate for the month came in at 11.8 percent, well above the national average.

A total of 96.5 percent of Maryland’s monthly tax revenue was generated by eight mobile sportsbooks and ten brick-and-mortar locations. There is a good chance the Super Bowl boosted the average betting volume for the month.

Despite this, Marylanders bet more on sports in December by posting $497.1 million. That was significantly higher than February ($441.5 million). 

Barstool Sportsbook, Betfred, BetMGM, BetRivers, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, FanDuel, and PointsBet accounted for 95.6 percent of the online market share. Fanatics Sportsbook and WynnBET are expected to go live soon in Maryland.

FanDuel outpaced all mobile competitors with a monthly handle of $157.7 million. DraftKings secured the second position but lagged with $100.5 million. DraftKings’ February hold was 10.9 percent, while FanDuel’s was 14.7 percent.

No other online sportsbooks that conduct business in the state accepted at least $50 million. BetMGM reported a monthly handle of $33.2 million, and Caesars Sportsbook brought in $16 million. 

Betfred launched its digital platform on February 9th and reported a handle of $406,018. The operator registered a win rate of 12.7 percent in the first few weeks of operation in the jurisdiction.

In Maryland, FanDuel and DraftKings dominate the mobile handle. FanDuel received wagers worth $692.7 million for the fiscal year, while DraftKings received $459.9 million. 

Sports Betting Industry Retail Market in Maryland

In the retail market sector, the customers wagered just below the $5.6 million mark for the month at MGM National Harbor. Overall, the location held just 2.3 percent during the span. MGM National Harbor’s retail sports betting operation has now held at least 10% for seven consecutive months.

Live! Casino accumulated $3.4 million, Horseshoe Casino brought in $2.2 million, and Ocean Downs Casino rounded out the top 3 with $1.1 million. These were the only locations that accumulated a handle of $1 million or over the month.

At the Fanatics Sportsbook at FedEx Field, sports bettors walked away $800,000 in winnings against $650,000 in handle. In September, Fanatics was the only retail sportsbook in the state that did not post a positive hold.

About the Author
Joe Berra
Joe Berra
Sports Writer
Content Covered on SportsHub: Blog and News
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Joe takes care of the bits and pieces that sometimes slip through the cracks of the sports world. Efficiency and consistency is what makes different. JB helps keep Sports Hub’s content fresh and exciting, managing its many authors. From the New York area, Joe knew he had a knack for sports betting when his uncle was always asking him which side he was on as a young boy. His meticulous approach to the numbers formed his career path as a professional handicapper. Joe is sometimes called Jimmy Bagpipes, JB or Mr. B.