Indiana’s Rising Star Casino To Open Retail Sportsbook Doors On Thursday

The 14th retail sportsbook in Indiana is slated to open Thursday, according to a notice from the Indiana Gaming Commission in Indianapolis.

The Rising Star Casino Resort on Tuesday was given the green light to open its retail sportsbook. The owner-operator of the casino, Full House Resorts, in early August received a certificate from the IGC to have a sportsbook. Unlike other casinos, Rising Star didn’t open its book to capitalize on the start to the NFL and college football seasons, the most popular sports for wagering.

That doesn’t mean Full House Resorts hasn’t been busy on the sports betting front. The casino company has inked three sports betting partnerships, both for retail and online/mobile.

The retail sportsbook will be branded as a BetAmerica book, which Churchill Downs is behind. Full House has also forged deals for online sports gambling with the exchange wagering platform Smarkets and more recently Las Vegas-based Wynn Resorts. It’s unclear when those products might launch.

Rising Star is located on the Kentucky-Indiana border about a 50-minute drive from downtown Cincinnati. Its retail book will have to compete with the sportsbooks at the Hollywood Casino Lawrenceburg, Belterra Casino Resort, and to some extent Horseshoe Southern Indiana outside Louisville (which will soon be Caesars Southern Indiana). The retail book landscape is becoming crowded.

The Belterra Casino, which is equipped with a FanDuel sportsbook, is about a 30-minute drive from Rising Star. FanDuel is one of the most prominent brands in U.S. sports betting.

Full House all in on sports gambling

The retail opening authorization for Rising Star came just a few days after Full House announced its third quarter financials, which included company comments on its recent sports betting moves.

“The past several months were important months for the future growth of our company,” Daniel Lee, President and CEO of Full House Resorts, said in a statement. “Most importantly, we executed six 10-year sports wagering agreements with three different companies, each allowing such companies to conduct mobile and online sports wagering throughout Indiana and Colorado … Through these agreements, we will share in the revenues of those companies’ mobile sports operations in Indiana and Colorado, which include contractual minimums of $7 mm of guaranteed annual revenue to Full House Resorts. Half of that amount is related to Indiana, where the legislature recently approved sports wagering. The other half is related to Colorado, subject to Colorado voters ratifying sports wagering in next week’s statewide election.”

Full House, also owner of a casino in Colorado, is banking on voters in that state on Tuesday approving a referendum to authorize both retail and online/mobile sports wagering.

Lee added that the launch of Rising Star’s retail sportsbook will include additional marketing efforts to bring folks into the property, which has been a challenge recently thanks to road construction.

“Rising Star continued to feel the impact of road construction on the major route to the property,” he said. “Additionally, we launched a mass marketing campaign to reintroduce our casino and its many new amenities to potential guests. Those amenities include a new restaurant, Ben’s Bistro, which opened in the [third] quarter, as well as our ferry service to Kentucky and our RV park. We are just completing the installation of the new Konami casino management system, similar to what will soon be installed at Bronco Billy’s [in Colorado]. Perhaps most importantly, we are also in final preparations for our newest amenity, sports wagering, which we expect will launch shortly on-site and online, pending receipt of final regulatory approvals. We are excited for the new opportunities that sports wagering will provide our company.”

The Indiana Gaming Commission recently released figures showing that the state’s retail sportsbooks, the first of which opened Sept. 1, took $35.2 mm in bets during September. Online/mobile wagering kicked off Oct. 3 with the launch of BetRivers, a product from Rush Street Interactive, as well as an app from DraftKings. FanDuel launched its platform about two weeks later.

Indiana’s sports betting handle and revenue figures from October will be made public later this month.