Indiana’s sports betting is ready for takeoff.
On Wednesday, the Indiana Gaming Commission gave Rush Street Interactive the green light to commence online/mobile sports wagering on Oct. 3, the first authorization of its kind in Indiana’s barely one-month-old sports betting industry. The first retail sportsbooks opened on Sept. 1, the first day allowed under the law passed earlier this year.
Rush Street is the online sports betting partner of the French Lick Casino, located in southern Indiana. The casino is owned by the Cook Group, a medical device company headquartered in Bloomington. Rush Street, owner of the Play SugarHouse brands in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, is based out of Chicago. Rush Street will be a major player in the neighboring online/mobile sports betting market in Illinois, expected to begin sometime in 2020.
Under French Lick’s casino license, Rush Street will use the BetRivers.com portal and brand in the Hoosier State, like it also does in Pennsylvania. Rush Street is also the owner of brick-and-mortar casinos in several states.
“We are extremely thrilled to open this new sportsbook at the beautiful and historic French Lick Resort, and to bring the same high-quality, in-casino sports betting experiences that our players in other markets have been enjoying, to resort guests and sports fans in Indiana,” Richard Schwartz, president of Rush Street Interactive, said earlier this year when the partnership was announced. “Being headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, we are particularly proud of our Midwest heritage and the opportunity to expand in the region with these exciting retail and online launches.”
French Lick opened its retail sportsbook on Sept. 6.
Remote registration in Indiana
Unlike Iowa, which kicked off its retail and online/mobile sports betting industry in mid-August, Indiana law doesn’t require that would-be online sports bettors first register in person at the casino. You can register remotely from basically anywhere within the state of Indiana (there are, however, gambling website filters on some WiFi networks).
In Iowa, the rule that you must first sign up at a brick-and-mortar casino will eventually sunset — however, the pesky requirement immediately gives Indiana’s industry a major leg up. In New Jersey, the nation’s most advanced sports wagering market, about 85% of the total sports wagering handle happens via the internet. Indiana could have a similar breakdown, though it won’t happen right out of the gate. It took New Jersey’s market about a year to get to that 85%.
The Hoosier State might not need that much time.
Indiana shares borders with Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, and Michigan, none of which currently have legal sports wagering of any kind. Gamblers from those states will be able to travel into Indiana and register for an online/mobile sports wagering account from anywhere. Wagering will be blocked once you leave the borders of Indiana.
Indiana market potential
According to a 2017 study commission by the American Gaming Association, Indiana has the potential to see $6.5 billion in handle, under the conditions that the state ended up going with under its new sports betting law. For comparison, Nevada, home to a decades-old legal sports betting industry, currently takes a little more than $5 billion in annual bets.
Indiana’s gaming industry has the potential to see more than $400 mm in win from legal sports betting, which would provide a significant boost to the stagnant casino gaming market. The gambling expansion package that passed this year also included other initiatives to boost the market, including live dealer table games at a pair of racinos and a new casino for Vigo County.
The Hoosier State casino gaming market is currently worth about $2.2 billion. Significant revenue gains are on the horizon.