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The absence of major sporting events continued to strain the US sports betting industry last month, with both Indiana and Iowa feeling its effects. 

Sportsbooks in Indiana generated just $1.6 million for the whole month, which was the state’s worst-ever revenue total. 

Meanwhile, Iowan operators made a meagre $150,331. Like Indiana, this represented the lowest-ever revenue figures for a monthly period. 

April was the first full month that land-based casinos in both states were shut due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

A big drop for Indiana

April’s sports betting revenue for the Hoosier State was a 71.1% drop when put up against operators’ income from March. 

Betting handle was also largely reduced, with a total of $26.3 million being wagered by players. This was 64.8% lower than had been the case in the previous month. March’s sports betting handle had already been 60% lower than the figures in February. 

All of last month’s sports betting revenue in Indiana came online. Compared to March, online revenue was 66% lower and there was also a 57.7% drop in digital sports betting handle. 

Since operators brought in less money, the state also suffered. Its tax revenue of $148,189 was 76% less than the previous month. 

Penn National Gaming’s DraftKings-partnered Ameristar Casino made up the majority of the market’s share in April. Its revenue stood at $957,962, while handle reached $13.6 million. Respectively, these were 64.5% and 61.2% lower than March. 

Blue Chip Casino’s FanDuel-powered sportsbook was the closest competitor to Ameristar Casino. Its revenue of $427,122 was 73.3% less than the month before, while the sports betting handle of $9.7 million was a 56.5% drop. 

With all US major sporting leagues still out-of-action, players looked elsewhere for entertainment. Football betting handle actually went up to $1.3 million, with the NFL draft captivating the interest of fans. Elsewhere, players bet $4 million on parlays and $21 million was placed on other sports – some of which were not as popular in a pre-coronavirus world. 

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb has announced a five-stage plan to get the state’s economy back-on-track. Stage two, which involves shops and restaurants opening at half of their capacity, was implemented on May 4th.

Iowa’s drop was even bigger

Iowa’s overall revenue figure represented a larger month-on-month decrease than its Midwestern counterpart. The amount that sportsbooks made was 87.2% lower than in March. 

The state’s betting handle was also significantly lower than in the previous month, when players had placed $19.6 million. 

Another problem that the Hawkeye State had to deal with was the lack of new players. Since individuals must register at a land-based venue, this wasn’t possible because they were all closed. There are six operators in the state yet to launch online gaming, meaning that their revenue for April was null. 

In terms of market leaders, Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino – partnered with William Hill finished top of the pile. Its revenue of $62,175 was a monthly decline of 89.8%, while the operator’s handle ($869,008) was 87.3% lower than in March. 

Second on the list was Isle Casino Hotel in Waterloo, another partner of William Hill. Its revenue of $26,788 was 80.9% less than the previous month, with handle reaching $186,175. That translated to an 89% drop from March’s total. 

Until May 15th at least, all land-based casinos in Iowa are to remain closed. However, the state has slowly begun opening up in other areas. At the beginning of this month, shops and restaurants started to open their doors again – albeit at 50% of their usual capacity.

It’s possible that sportsbooks in both Indiana and Iowa could receive a boost through the incoming return of NASCAR.

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