Spectacle Entertainment Signs Mobile Sports Betting Deal with BetIndiana; Gary, Indiana Council OKs New Local Pact

Posted on: October 15, 2019, 11:08h. 

Last updated on: October 16, 2019, 10:22h.

Spectacle Entertainment, which owns the Majestic Star Casinos in Gary, Ind., has found a mobile sportsbook partner. Earlier this week, USA Sports Gaming LLC announced an agreement to launch a new application, BetIndiana.

Spectacle Entertainment, which owns the Majestic Star Casinos in Gary, Ind., has reached an agreement with USA Sports Gaming LLC, which will run an online sportbook for the casinos. That application will be branded BetIndiana. (Image: Chicago Tribune)

Frank Ignatius, the founder and president of USA Sports Gaming told Casino.org the company would submit its vendor application to the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) as early as Tuesday. BetIndiana should be able to launch once the commission signs off on the license, which he expects to happen within four to six weeks.

“We’re ready on our side,” Ignatius said.

Plans are underway to move the two riverboat casinos on Lake Michigan to an inland location in the northwest Indiana city. The IGC has given permission for the move, plans for which also call for the casinos to be rebranded under the Hard Rock name.

As Casino.org reported previously, Spectacle does not plan to offer a retail sportsbook at the new Gary casino. Instead, it plans to offer a lounge with televisions where people can use their phones or another mobile device to bet on games.

According to the BetIndiana press release, that concept will debut at the Majestic Star.

Like BetIndiana, Spectacle Entertainment is an independent operator in the gaming industry, born in the Midwest and connected to our local markets,” Ignatius said. “We see great synergy here and we’re confident we will provide bettors in Indiana with a book unlike any other in the state.”

John Keeler, Spectacle’s vice president and general counsel, told Casino.org that BetIndiana will be one of the skins, or online applications, for the Gary casino. Each casino will be able to have three skins.

Online Expected to be Dominant

The announcement comes less than two weeks after Indiana officially opened the door to mobile sports betting, with the rollouts of BetRivers, a Rush Street Gaming application, and DraftKings.

While no figures are available yet, mobile sports betting has become popular in several of the seven states where it’s available. In New Jersey, mobile sports betting makes up about 80 percent of the market.

In September, Iowa – in its first full month of sports betting – reported that mobile betting represented more than 56 percent of the market. That’s even though only seven of the 18 licensed casinos were offering mobile applications, and that Iowa currently requires in-person registration at casinos before customers can use their online accounts.

Ignatius expects Indiana to produce similar results.

“We all know that mobile is going to be the dominant platform for betting on sports,” he said.

And while some companies have a head start, he believes BetIndiana will be able to compete with the established brands, like DraftKings, FanDuel, or William Hill. The challenge will be in getting the name recognition in the market. However, he believes his company will have the technology to compete with them.

In addition, Ignatius told Casino.org that US Sports Gaming is planning to have its own traders on staff to set their own pricing. Initially, the company will rely, at least partially, on Sportradar to help until it can get its staff ready.

Gary Casino Update

In other news for Spectacle, the Gary Common Council voted Tuesday night to approve an amended agreement between the casino owner and the city.

After the state legislature approved Spectacle’s request to move the casino inland, officials with the city asked to renegotiate the agreement with the company, Keeler said.

Among the terms of the deal, Spectacle will provide the city 3 percent of the casino’s adjusted gross receipts and 3 percent of the adjusted revenue from sports betting as well.

The agreement also provides Gary with .5 percent of the adjusted receipts over a 10-year period from the Terre Haute casino if Spectacle wins the right to that license.

The Majestic Star, which is based on two boats, held two licenses. The move inland allows them to consolidate operations under one license, and the state has set that aside for a possible casino in the west central town near the Illinois border.

Voters in Vigo County will vote whether to allow a casino there in a referendum next month.