Indiana Sports Betting Regulations Receive State Commission Approval, First Sportsbooks Open Sunday

Posted on: August 28, 2019, 02:26h. 

Last updated on: August 28, 2019, 04:16h.

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) on Wednesday unanimously approved regulations for sports betting in the state, paving the way for casinos, racinos, and off-track betting parlors to begin taking wagers as soon as this Sunday.

Sara Gonso Tait, executive director of the Indiana Gaming Commission, gives a presentation at Wednesday’s IGC meeting in Indianapolis. The seven-member board formally approved sports betting regulations at the meeting, and the first bets will be taken on Sunday. (Image:

The move came as expected, with no discussion among the seven commissioners. Immediately after the vote, IGC Executive Director Sara Gonso Tait announced the first five sportsbooks approved to open, as well as their starting dates. They are:

Indiana Grand Racing and Casino Shelbyville, Sept. 1
Ameristar Casino East Chicago, Sept. 1
Hollywood Casino Lawrenceburg, Sept. 1
Horseshoe Hammond, Sept. 4
French Lick Casino, Sept. 6

The regulations the IGC approved on Wednesday were approved under the state’s emergency clause statute, meaning they will take effect as soon as they’re published.

IGC staff contacted peers in other states with sports betting to develop the rules package, as well as what sports are acceptable, Tait told the commissioners. She added that her staff will take a “measured approach” in regulating.

The IGC is not in a position to implement limits or policy without good reason,” she said. “We’ve let (state) statute guide us, and we’ve stayed in our lane.”

The regulations will be good for 90 days, and the IGC can extend them for another 90 days while commission staff work on drafting permanent regulations. Tait told work on the permanent regulations will start soon and will go through a formal approval process.

Other Openings TBA

Tait said her office would continue working on approvals for the remaining sportsbooks, several of which have already announced their opening plans.

“The other proposals will probably soon follow,” she said. “These first five were just in a position to announce today.”

Earlier on Wednesday, Horseshoe Southern Indiana announced it would open its Caesars-branded The Book on Sept. 12.

“We’ll have an opening event,” Brad Seigel, Horseshoe Southern Indiana’s general manager, told “Whether or not we involve a celebrity, time will tell.”

It’ll be a temporary venue, as a land-based casino currently under construction is set to open in December. It will be re-branded as a Caesars casino.

Mobile Sports Betting Coming

When the first bets are placed Sunday, Indiana will become the 13th state to allow sports betting, and the third in the last two-and-a-half weeks, as sportsbooks recently opened in both Iowa and Oregon. The Hoosier State will join Iowa as the only Midwestern states taking legal wagers.

Indiana will tax sportsbooks at 9.5 percent of gross revenue. Once the market matures, state officials expect sports betting to generate about $11.5 million in new revenue.

The regulations also take into consideration mobile sports betting, Tait said. That will allow any decision to move forward and allow sportsbooks to release their applications to take place at a staff level, she said.

“Certainly, the operator focus is on retail right now. But we are in a very good position to do a quick pivot to mobile” Tait said.

Each sportsbook will have the chance to release three mobile skins.

No Hard Rock Brick-and-Mortar Book

Currently, all but one of the state’s licensed casinos have applied for a sportsbook license, and that will stay that way, developers of the planned Hard Rock Casino in Gary told after the meeting.

“We’re not going to do retail,” John Keeler, vice president and general counsel of Spectacle Entertainment, said. “We decided that it’s not worth the investment. Our hope is to go mobile, and then maybe have a mobile lounge, where you can use your mobile device inside and we provide the beer.”

Spectacle received approval from the IGC Wednesday to move its casinos from two Majestic Star riverboats in Gary to an inland location near an interstate highway. The new casino is scheduled to open in December 2020.