Indiana Gaming Official Calls September Sports Betting Rollout a ‘Tall Order’; Mobile Apps May Wait

Posted on: June 2, 2019, 07:33h. 

Last updated on: June 2, 2019, 07:33h.

Sports betting is still coming to Indiana, but the officials who will be in charge of regulating it are pushing back a bit on when the state may actually start taking bets.

Sara Gonso Tait, executive director of the Indiana Gaming Commission, talks with IGC board members during Thursday’s meeting in Indianapolis. Tait outlined why a September launch for sports betting may be a “tall order.” (Image: Brandon Smith/Indiana Public Media)

Media outlets across the state reported that at Thursday’s Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) meeting in Indianapolis, Executive Director Sara Gonso Tait said a September start date may be a challenge.

Last month, Gov. Eric Holcomb signed an expanded gaming bill into law that opened the door for sports betting at the state’s casinos, racinos, and off-track betting parlors. It also legalized placing bets online.

One of the bill’s key sponsors, State Sen. Jon Ford (R-Terre Haute), told last month after Holcomb signed the bill that the goal was to begin accepting bets by the first week of September, a timeframe that coincides with the beginning of football season.

Tait, however, laid out the rationale on why that might not happen. She said the IGC must create the regulatory framework. Then, it would need to review and approve applications. After that, the new license holders must train their staff. There’s also time that will be needed to secure arrangements with the necessary platform vendors.

(Regulating sports betting) is a tall order, and there are many factors outside of our control,” Tait said.

The Times of Northwestern Indiana reported that the IGC will release the draft regulations for public review next month. The IGC board is scheduled to approve them at its Aug. 28 meeting.

Indiana Sports Betting Details

Indiana’s sports betting law, which doesn’t officially take effect until July 1, will allow bettors to place wagers on professional and collegiate sporting events. The law also gives the commission the ability to allow for in-game betting.

Sports betting licenses will cost $100,000 for gaming venues and their vendors, with annual renewal fees costing $50,000. Data companies will need to acquire a license for $10,000. After receiving $1.6 million in the first year, the state expects the licensing to generate $800,000 annually starting in fiscal year 2021.

The state will tax sportsbooks at 9.5 percent, and once the betting gets into full swing, Indiana officials expect to receive $11.5 million per year.

Indiana became the first Midwestern state to legalize sports betting, with Iowa following just days later.

Retail First, Mobile Later?

Tait also noted the state may proceed with a tiered approach to sports betting. That would mean brick-and-mortar sportsbooks open first with mobile outlets following. Mobile gaming is more intricate and must include geocaching to ensure those making online wagers are physically within the state.

Indiana would not be the first state with a lag between retail and online sports betting launches. Pennsylvania opened its first retail sportsbook in November. However, officials there just announced last month that a couple of its licensees were testing their apps. Even New Jersey, where its first sports bets placed nearly a year ago, did not see mobile betting until August.