BetAmerica, Smarkets Want To Launch By Year-End
Legal Sports Report

Full House Resorts’ Indiana Sportsbook Partners May Launch By Super Bowl

Indiana sportsbooks by Super Bowl

Three more Indiana sportsbooks could launch online by the Super Bowl, according to Full House Resorts CEO Dan Lee, the casino partner in the state.

At least two of them plan to launch Indiana sports betting by the end of this year: Smarkets and BetAmerica, the Churchill Downs brand that runs on SBTech‘s platform.

  • Smarkets, a European sports betting operator that’s handled more than $15.6 billion on its peer-to-peer exchange, announced plans in September to launch its SBK sportsbook by the end of the year.
  • Churchill Downs’ planned launch by the end of the year is relatively new information provided by CEO Bill Carstanjen during the company’s third-quarter conference call.
  • Another Full House partner, Wynn Resorts, owns 22.5% of sportsbook platform provider BetBull.

But Lee said it’s a fair guess that all three partners want to be live in time to bet on the annual NFL championship. Super Bowl LIV will be Feb. 2, 2020.

The companies simply need to get approval from the Indiana gaming regulators, and then it’s “flipping a digital switch,” he said.

All three will have an online presence while BetAmerica will operate the retail sportsbook at Full House’s Rising Star Casino.

Colorado sports betting, too

All three of those sports betting operators have also partnered with Full House for Colorado sports betting. The state’s voters approved a ballot measure last week.

A fiscal impact study mentioned two months of operations in fiscal 2020, suggesting a launch around May.

BetAmerica also has the retail rights to operate a sportsbook at Full House’s Bronco Billy’s Casino.

Insight into sports betting contracts

Lee’s comments on the call gave some insight into what goes into signing these sports betting contracts between the operators and their land-based licensed counterparts.

For instance, Full House will get a larger piece of the revenue if a player signs up on the Wi-Fi at its casino instead of elsewhere.

Lee also stressed how important these 10-year contracts are for the business as a whole. Sports betting is typically seen as a customer acquisition tool, but Lee detailed how big these agreements can be for a small company.

The sum of the minimum revenue guarantees adds up to $7 million annually or $3.5 million from each state.

That’s also with minimal costs related to that revenue, Lee said, meaning most translates to profit for the company. He also suspects the operators should perform better than the minimum.

To give that context, Full House’s trailing 12 months EBITDA was just $17.4 million at the end of September.

In his estimation, after taxes, the deals should add about $60 million over those 10 years to the company.

When looking at the company’s balance sheet, Lee said the deals essentially double the value of Full House’s publicly traded stock. “This is really mega f—ing important,” he added.

Indiana’s sports betting market is growing

There are three online sportsbooks in Indiana, with now potentially four more on the way in time for the Super Bowl.

FanDuel Sportsbook just launched recently, joining DraftKings Sportsbook and BetRivers.

PointsBet also plans to launch in Indiana by the Super Bowl.

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- Matthew Waters is a reporter covering legal sports betting and the gambling industry. Previous stops include Fantini Research and various freelance jobs covering professional and amateur sports in Delaware and the Philadelphia area.
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