Indiana’s first online/mobile sportsbook is still at least a few weeks away from going live, but the state is already preparing to help folks gamble responsibly. It’s another sign that online/mobile is fast approaching on the horizon for the Hoosier State’s four-day-old sports betting industry.
Retail wagering began at three casinos over the Labor Day weekend, with additional brick-and-mortar openings slated for this week ahead of the start to the 2019-20 NFL season. While the retail openings were/are historic, bettors in other legal markets have shown that online/mobile is by far the preferred method for wagering. In New Jersey, about 85% of the handle comes via the internet — and it’s still expected to creep up over time, more than likely passing 90% of handle.
It seems inevitable that Indiana’s market will also eventually be online/mobile dominated. While New Jersey was live with online casino gambling for several years prior to the first online/mobile sportsbook launching, Indiana’s foray into online betting will come via sports. The state recently launched a new program to help folks who are concerned about their ability to gamble responsibly over the internet.
Individuals can enroll in the program via their phones or computers.
IGC’s new program
Last week, the Indiana Gaming Commission updated its website with information about the Indiana Internet Self-Restriction Program (ISRP), which enables individuals to confidentially request to be barred from participating in licensed mobile sports wagering in the Hoosier State. You could still bet on sports in a retail setting. The IGC has a separate program for self-exclusion from brick-and-mortar casinos, as well as a web page for general responsible gaming resources.
However, sports wagering operators still may elect to evict participants of the ISRP from their properties.
The ISRP doesn’t allow you to pick and choose which (upcoming) online/mobile platform you’d like to self-exclude from. It applies to all platforms, even ones that haven’t yet launched.
People can select a one or five-year self-ban from online gambling. There is no lifetime option. However, an individual doesn’t automatically fall off the self-exclusion list at the completion of the period, as a person would have to request to be removed from the program.
While the ISRP is for Indiana only, online/mobile sports wagering operators that will be live in the state also do, or will do, business in other regulated markets. Operators could ban a person from online gambling in any state for being on a self-exclusion list in one state, in this case Indiana.
Other responsible gaming safeguards
Last week, the IGC finalized regulations for sports wagering, just a few days before the first retail openings. Included in the rules are some requirements for responsible gaming that online/mobile operators must adhere to. Fines and possible license revocation are penalties for not doing so.
Operators must provide a “prominent” message to inform gamblers of a hotline for responsible gaming help. Platforms must also have a direct link to Indianagamblinghelp.com.
Additionally, platforms must provide a link to the ISRP program. Operators are also required to have their own separate responsible gaming options for patrons.
The rules state that Indiana casinos and their online gambling partners can’t directly market (emails, phone calls, texts) to people on the ISRP list.