Indiana is moving quickly to implement sports betting in time for the upcoming NFL season.
Governor Eric Holcomb signed HB 1015 into law this May and the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) took no time in jumping into action.
First, the IGC developed temporary regulations and published them in early July. Doing so gives local casinos an early look at how sports betting will be regulated across the state. Those regulations are now on track to become permanent at the next IGC meeting on August 28th.
This week, the IGC issued temporary sports betting licenses to twelve casinos and off-track betting parlors (OTBs). Each of the following locations has paid the $100,000 licensing application fee and will in all likelihood be issued permanent licenses shortly.
The goal in Indiana is to get the state’s first batch of retail sportsbooks up and running on 1 September 2019.
Nine casinos and three OTB locations have been awarded temporary licenses.
Casinos with Sportsbook Licenses
- Ameristar East Chicago in East Chicago
- Belterra Casino Resort in Florence
- Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City
- Caesars Southern Indiana in Elizabeth
- French Lick Resort in French Lick
- Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg
- Harrah’s Hoosier Park in Anderson
- Horseshoe Hammond in Hammond
- Indiana Grand in Shelbyville
OTBS with Sportsbook Licenses
- Winner’s Circle OTB in Clarksville
- Winner’s Circle OTB in Indianapolis
- Winner’s Circle OTB in New Haven
Some officials have stated they hope to have mobile betting in place by then as well, but the odds of that happening are uncertain at this point. In most states, regulators have opted to give retail sportsbooks the green light first and then authorize mobile betting a bit later.
In any case, local casinos have already begun construction on multiple retail sportsbooks across the state. The Times of Northwest Indiana recently reported Caesars Entertainment alone has begun construction on seven different sports betting venues: one at each of its four casinos and three at each of its standalone Winner’s Circle OTB locations.
Tropicana Evansville was not included on this first list of sports betting licensees but will likely join the list soon. Tropicana Evansville is working with William Hill US on sports betting.
Belterra Casino Resort and Blue Chip Casino also have sportsbooks in the works. Boyd Gaming, parent company of both, has an agreement in place with FanDuel to operate sports betting in Indiana.
A Look at the Indiana Sports Betting Law
The bill signed into law by Governor Holcomb in May authorizes casinos, racetracks and OTB locations to apply for sports betting licenses to be issued by the Indiana Gaming Commission. Each license comes with a nonrefundable $100,000 application fee and ongoing renewal fees of $50,000 annually if approved.
Licensed sports betting operators will then be permitted to offer on-site wagering through retail sportsbooks and online via mobile apps and websites. State residents and visitors 21 or older will be permitted to bet online, but only if physically present within state lines.
Key highlights from the law include:
- 21+ to bet on sports
- Allows wagers on professional and college sports
- Prohibits wagers on esports and amateur youth leagues
- In-play betting allowed
- 5% tax on sports betting operators
- Casinos, racetracks and OTBs may apply for sports betting licenses
- $100,000 application fee for sports betting operators
- $50,000 annual renewal fee for licensees
- Law does not force operators to purchase official data from the leagues
- Law does not impose an integrity fee
Hard Rock Casino Also Coming to Indiana
In semi-related news, up to two Hard Rock Casinos are set to open in Indiana over coming years.
The Tribune Star reported on Sunday that Spectacle Entertainment has signed a letter of intent with Hard Rock International to operate its new Gary casino under the Hard Rock banner. Spectacle Entertainment says it also plans to operate under the Hard Rock name if it wins the bid to construct a new casino in Terre Haute.
Legislation signed into law in April authorized the two Majestic Star riverboat casinos on Lake Michigan to shut down and move inland. Spectacle Entertainment acquired both casinos in December and now says it will be operating its new land-based casino in Gary under the Hard Rock brand.
Spectacle Entertainment attorney John Keeler compared the deal to a McDonald’s franchising agreement in comments to the Tribune Star:
“That means the casino will be branded, so that is maybe akin to somebody having a McDonald’s franchise. We have a signed letter of intent.”
According to local media reports, the $400-million-dollar Gary casino will be located near the Borman Expressway at Burr Street and permanently employ 2,000 people.
Spectacle Entertainment also plans to open a casino under the Hard Rock brand if it wins the bid to construct a casino in Terre Haute. That plan is contingent upon Spectacle and Hard Rock winning the bid, but also on voters in Vigo County approving the construction of a new casino.