New York Handle Boosted on March Madness Opening

NCAA Tournament Prompted Huge Betting Handle in Empire State

New York might not be the biggest state for college sports fandom but New York bettors definitely love March Madness. For the week ending March 24th, which included the first two rounds of the 2024 NCAA Tournament, there were huge NY March Madness handle surges. This led to the state’s sportsbook operators collecting $539.6 million in handle.

That total is the highest since early 2022, when New York legalized online sports gambling, and is the first time that New York’s total weekly handle eclipsed $500 million since the week ending December 17, 2023.

Surprisingly, it was only a decent week for the sportsbooks profit-wise instead of a record-breaking one. They netted just over $31 million in profit. It’s the lowest profit figure since the week ending February 11th of this year (which included Super Bowl LVIII) and, before that, the week ending November 26th, 2023.

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It shows through scores and odds, that the way the public bets along with how the games go, still makes a huge difference in how much sportsbooks win. That is despite all of the house edges the sportsbooks have.

It’s always tough for the sportsbooks to do well when the favorites win in the NCAA Tournament as they have mostly done since the upset-filled first round.

With two No. 1 seeds still left in UConn and Purdue as the Final Four opens up in Phoenix on Saturday, the public has been able to ride two of the country’s best teams to plenty of betting success over the past two weeks. You can be sure that the sportsbook operators are rooting for NC State and Alabama.

Big Year-Over-Year and Week-To-Week Betting Increase and Profit Loss

There were over 17% more handles in New York on the first week of this year’s NCAA Tournament as opposed to 2023, a significant jump indicating how betting in New York has grown in just a year.

The NCAA Tournament is always popular for bettors. But this much of a NY March Madness handle surge is significant even if it does not directly translate to more profit for sportsbooks or revenue for the government. Profits fell by one-fifth from the same time last year.

The public doing well on over under betting also surely contributed to the nearly $10 million profit decline from the week ending March 17th to the week ending March 24th even with the the nearly $100 million increase in handle.

Those kind of numbers being so large and dramatic from week to week really do drive home just how well the public did in NCAA Tournament betting early on as well as in the other sports still going on, like the NBA and NHL.

Handle probably will go down a bit for the following week because while there still were NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games going on, the sheer numbers of bettable contests in the first two rounds leads to so much more action from bettors.

When there is nonstop action from noon until midnight, people tends to bet more than they do when there are only a few games in primetime.

FanDuel Drove Handle

Unsurprisingly, FanDuel was the far-and-away leader in handle for the week. The sportsbook pulled in almost $245 million in bets during the NY March Madness handle surge, which was almost $66 million higher than the previous week.

Profits dropped by around $7 million, though, indicating that the public did well against FanDuel in the NCAA Tournament, at least, relative to how the public did against other operators. FanDuel was responsible for a huge chunk of the overall New York profit decrease.

One of the other big operators, DraftKings, nearly matched FanDuel in profit. It had a $10.3-million profit figure on “just” $174 million in handle. DraftKings’ week-to-week profits only dipped slightly while handle went up by around $27 million. That sportsbook was able to weather the storm a lot better.

Most of the operators in New York saw their profits reduced from the week prior but, on the bright side for them, none lost money.

So, the sportsbooks can live with that kind of week because, at the very least, it drummed up a lot of interest from bettors and could lead to more sustained bettors/customers in the future because of the success that most people had this week.

Sometimes, the sportsbooks get beat by people taking smart betting free picks but it always tends to work out in the operators’ favor in the long run.

For Gambling news, odds analysis, and more, visit Point Spreads Sports Magazine.


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