The long-awaited Caesars Southern Indiana is open for business.
On Dec. 13, CSI, formerly branded as Horseshoe, had its grand opening, according to a presser from the Las Vegas-based casino operator. The project, which included relocating gaming operations inland, came at a $90 mm price tag. The new casino replaces the 21-year-old riverboat casino. In 2015, the state of Indiana reformed its gambling law to permit riverboat casino relocation in an effort to keep the state’s casino gambling market competitive with industries in bordering states.
The project included building a permanent sportsbook that the casino calls simply The Book. The sportsbook is open Monday through Friday from 12 p.m. to midnight and on weekends from 10 a.m. to midnight. According to Caesars, The Book, once fully equipped, will have 30 TV screens and a combination of wagering windows and kiosks. The project took 18 months of work to complete.
“With completely new gaming facilities, increased amenities, and new restaurant offerings, Caesars Southern Indiana will elevate the experience for our guests,” CSI Senior Vice President and General Manager Brad Seigel said in a statement. “We look forward to making each visit memorable with the exceptional service, friendly team members, and thrilling gaming and entertainment that our guests have come to love at our home here in Southern Indiana.”
The casino draws heavily from the Louisville, Ky. area. The Bluegrass State isn’t home to any full-fledged, Las Vegas-style casinos. However, Indiana gaming facilities could soon have to compete with legal sports betting in Kentucky, both at racetracks and over the internet. Legislation is forthcoming in Kentucky. For now, Indiana, which also allows online/mobile sportsbooks, has regional exclusivity on sports gambling.
Caesars didn’t want to wait until December to take advantage of Indiana’s legalization of sports betting, which happened earlier this year. On Sept. 12, the then-Horseshoe Southern Indiana opened its book on Deck 2 of the riverboat. Former NFL player Paul Hornung was there to place the ceremonial first bet.
Despite the plans to relocate the sportsbook to the new casino space, Caesars still called it The Book.
In November, the most recent month of figures from the Indiana Gaming Commission, The Book at the Caesars casino in Elizabeth, Ind., took $1,414,256 in wagers, less than 1% of the total statewide handle. Only Belterra Casino and Rising Star Casino, both also located along the Indiana-Kentucky border, as well as the French Lick Resort in south central Indiana, had less retail handle.
The majority of Indiana’s handle comes via internet gambling, which Caesars doesn’t yet offer in the Hoosier State. Retail wagering handle is robust in northwest Indiana near Chicago, while the brick-and-stick books near Kentucky are lackluster in comparison.
Caesars Southern Indiana is hoping the new sportsbook and other amenities at the property will boost its retail handle, as well as slot and table game win.
Altogether, Caesars has seven retail sportsbooks in Indiana. In addition to CSI, it has a book at Horseshoe Hammond in northwest Indiana and its racinos, Harrah’s Hoosier Park and Indiana Grand, as well as at three off-track-betting facilities. One of the OTB books is located in downtown Indianapolis.
Image credit: Caesars