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Legal Sports Report

Indiana Sports Betting Launches Scheduled But Final Approvals Not Yet Issued

Indiana sports betting

Thirteen casinos and three off-track betting parlors are gearing up for the start of Indiana sports betting in September.

Four casinos have announced plans to launch retail sportsbooks by the Sept. 5 kickoff of the NFL season, with the majority of operators aiming to open by Week 2.

“We have received some proposed launch dates from a few operators that, conceptually, we’re agreeable to these dates,” said Sara Gonso Tait, executive director of the Indiana Gaming Commission. “But there’s quite a bit of information they need to submit to us for review before we can give the final go-live authorization.”

Dates for Indiana sports betting openings

Penn National Gaming intends to offer sports betting at Ameristar Casino East Chicago and Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg on Sept. 1, the first day allowable under the Indiana legislation.

Chicago Bears icons Mike Ditka and Devin Hester will place celebratory wagers at Ameristar’s opening.

Horseshoe Hammond Casino, operated by Caesars Entertainment, is targeting Sept. 4, while Boyd Gaming’s Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City is going for Sept. 5. That will be a FanDuel Sportsbook.

Belterra Casino in Florence, another Boyd property, is seeking to open Sept. 9.

Sports betting operators still need authorization

Before they are allowed to take wagers on those proposed dates, operators need to complete a number of regulatory requirements.

This list provided to operators by the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) must be checked off before receiving written authorization to offer IN sports betting:

  • Internal controls
  • House rules
  • Certification approvals from independent gaming test labs
  • Drop route plan and waiver requests
  • Minors plan
  • Surveillance plan
  • Cage/cashiers plan
  • Kiosk plan
  • Server location
  • Job descriptions and organizational charts
  • Staff training
  • Betting catalog that meets IGC’s directives regarding wagers and events
  • Integral third parties licensed

Operators are at various stages on the checklist, but none have completely finished.

“It’s a really fluid process,” Tait said. “There’s a lot of moving pieces that go into a go-live launch. We do what we can to be ready to receive submissions and expedite where we can.”

Mobile betting coming sooner than later

The commission has not received any requests to launch mobile Indiana sports betting, according to Tait. But she clarified that some materials from operators relevant to a mobile launch had come in.

“A lot of jurisdictions have told us as regulators that retail is easier to launch because it folds into existing casino operations,” Tait said. “Wisely, I think casino operators have chosen to do this two-tier approach. Right now, efforts are all on the retail side, but we’re still preparing to receive mobile requirements.”

Without a proposed start date, Tait can’t say when the first operator will take mobile bets in Indiana. However, the process that has begun seems to indicate that at least some casinos should have Indiana sports betting online by October.

“We sent out request forms to launch mobile, but until we receive a proposal it’s too early to tell,” Tait said. “A lot of vendors are just now sending applications in.”

Tait revealed that DraftKings Sportsbook and Churchill Downs are two of the most recent vendor applications.

More on Indiana’s launch could become clear Wednesday when the commission meets to approve emergency rules.

Matthew Kredell
- Matthew started his career as a sportswriter at the Los Angeles Daily News, where he covered the NFL, Kobe-Shaq three-peat, Pete Carroll’s USC football teams, USC basketball, pro tennis, Kings hockey and fulfilled his childhood dream of sitting in the Dodgers’ dugout. His reporting on efforts to legalize sports betting began in 2010, when Playboy Magazine flew him to Prague to hang out with online sportsbook pioneer Calvin Ayre and show how the NFL was pushing US money overseas by fighting expansion of regulated sports betting across the country. A USC journalism alum, Matt also has written on a variety of topics for Men’s Journal, Los Angeles magazine, LA Weekly and ESPN.com.
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