WNBA Star Caitlin Clark Already Having Major Impact on Indiana Sports Betting

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Jun 25, 2024 12:00 AM
Since being drafted by the WNBA’s Indiana Fever, Caitlin Clark is already having an impact on the level of interest in Indiana sports betting.

Caitlin Clark has intensified an already-growing spotlight in the WNBA ever since being drafted by the Indiana Fever. Her impact is evident in many ways—including when it comes to Indiana sports betting.

The Indiana Gaming Commission recently released the sports betting handle results in the Hoosier State for the month of May. And quite frankly, the returns were staggering. Here’s Chris Altruda of Sports Handle with a full breakdown:

“The Indiana Gaming Commission reported a sports betting handle of $361.6 million for May on Wednesday, a 27.6 percent increase from last year as basketball interest perked up thanks to the Indiana Pacers and Caitlin Clark. [The] Basketball handle totaled $97.2 million, an increase of $25.5 million from May 2023 as the Pacers reached the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 2014. Clark, the No. 1 overall pick of the Indiana Fever who has made the WNBA a mainstream sports talking point as much for her on-court play as what goes on around her in relation to women’s basketball, also helped generate action despite the Fever’s 1-8 start to the season.”

To be sure, Clark was not solely responsible for sports betting in Indiana experiencing a sizable uptick. As Altruda noted, the Indiana Pacers party crashing the betting odds for the NBA playoffs also helped. But the fact that they made a deep postseason push in the same month Clark debuted for the Fever are without question the premier driving forces. Indiana, after all, remains a basketball state. And both of their respective teams ambled their way into the mainstream this spring.

Indiana Sports Betting Handle Ranks Inside the Top 5 of the United States

Perhaps most notable about Indiana sports betting growth is how it stacks up against the rest of the rest of the country. Here are the top eight sports betting handles in the United States for May 2024:

  1. Sports betting in New York ($1.9 billion)
  2. Sports betting in North Carolina ($525.5 million)
  3. Sports betting in Maryland ($431.5 million)
  4. Sports betting in Tennessee ($379.2 million)
  5. Sports betting in Indiana ($361.6 million)
  6. Sports betting in Iowa ($182.5 million)
  7. Sports betting in Maine ($39.9 million)
  8. Sports betting in West Virginia ($30.4 million)

In particular, Indiana mobile sports betting performed quite well during this stretch. Not that this is especially surprising. The rise of online sports betting in the United States has been and remains meteoric. By the end of this year, we expect over 90 percent of all legal wagers placed to be processed through a mobile betting site in the USA

Still, even by these mounting standards, online sportsbooks in Indiana fared quite well. “The state’s 16 retail sportsbooks and 12 sports betting apps combined for almost $39 million in taxable sports betting revenue, which included $306,000 worth of adjustments in their favor,” Altruda wrote. 

Now, the Indiana sports betting handle declined relative to April 2024. But that’s to be expected. WNBA betting futures crescendo during the month of April. The same goes for betting on the NFL draft. And betting on the Indiana Pacers likely soared once the 2024 NBA playoffs began in the middle of the month.

Trying to Understand the Impact Caitlin Clark has on Betting Interest in the Hoosier State

Relative to the entire WNBA, Caitlin Clark’s impact is likely overstated. Interest in the “W” has been climbing for quite some time. Ratings for both the WNBA and women’s college basketball over the past few years will prove as much. 

This is not to say that Clark’s arrival hasn’t left a dent. It has. It is. And it will continue to do so.

Her influence, in fact, should be most pronounced when it comes to Indiana sports betting, since that’s the market in which she plays. Again, people tuned into—and attended games—for the Fever long before her. But she has given the team and league yet another polarizing seat who puts people in seats and invites extra eyes on television. 

Of course, boiling down her impact on Indiana sports betting popularity to an exact number is impossible. Perhaps we’ll eventually get some data on Caitlin Clark prop betting lines and how much handle they generate. For the most part, though, this is an inexact science. 

But that’s not meant to imply you can’t prove it. On the contrary, while Clark’s addition to the Fever has invited more attention through April and May, her impact may be most evident during the dog days of summer.

Keep Your Eyes on the Indiana Sports Wagering Handle in June and July

Right now, the WNBA season runs from May through September. Within that window, special attention should be paid to June and July. That’s when the sports betting calendar in Indiana enters more of a slower period.

Think about it: Both the NBA and NFL are over by that point. Major League Baseball is in full swing, but MLB does not have a team in Indiana. The NHL season ends by the middle of June as well, though yet again, Indy doesn’t have its own team. 

Betting on NFL futures will start to pick up by the end of July. But it won’t reach a fever pitch until the NFL preseason begins in August. So for most of June and July, betting on the WNBA—and more specifically, betting on the Indiana Fever—is basically the only game in town. 

Based on the initial returns from the Caitlin Clark era of Indiana sports betting, we should see the Hoosier State’s handle increase relative to this time span in 2023. Granted, the Fever’s poor record out of the gate could impact their long term appeal if they fall outside the WNBA playoff picture. However, they have already rebounded from a 1-8 start. At this writing, they have won six of eight games and are inching closer to .500. Not only that, but if the 2024 WNBA playoffs started today, they’d have the final seed locked up. Should they manage to make the postseason, it’ll be yet another boon for Indiana sports betting interest.

Once more, though: Keep your eyes peeled on the Indiana sports betting handle for July 2024 and August 2024 once they’re released. If Clark is really the draw she seems to be, it should be reflected in year-over-year increases of the sports betting handle in the Hoosier State.

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Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan first began writing about sports back in 2011. At the time, his expertise lied in the NBA and NFL. More than one decade, that remains the case. But he's also expanded his catalog to include extensive knowledge and analysis on the NHL, MLB, tennis, NASCAR, college ba...

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