West Central Indiana Retail Sportsbook Depends On Upcoming Local Referendum

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Another major component of the historic Indiana gaming package that allowed for sports wagering is closer to implementation.

On Monday, a casino impact study for Terre Haute, Ind. was made public ahead of a local county vote on Nov. 5 that would decide the fate of the proposed casino, according to a report from the Tribune-Star. The study, which comes from The Innovation Group on behalf of the Casino Association of Indiana, was completed in February but reportedly was just now made public.

Terre Haute, which sits in Vigo County, is along the Illinois border in central Indiana, about 75 miles west of Indianapolis. A new brick-and-mortar casino in Terre Haute would serve a market that is relatively untapped by other Indiana casinos. A potential developer for the casino hasn’t been selected.

Furthermore, the exact site of the potential casino is up in the air right now.

The casino, like others in the state, could — and more than likely would — have a retail sportsbook. The Innovation Group study didn’t mention the impact of a sportsbook.

There are currently 13 retail sportsbooks open in Indiana, along with three online/mobile platforms.

A Terre Haute casino would have to compete with Illinois’ robust gaming market, which was also expanded this year under historic legislation. Illinois will also have sports betting.

Impact of the Terre Haute casino

The Innovation Group study was used during the legislative discussions in the spring about expanding gambling in Indiana, so some of the figures aren’t new. It was already known that the proposed Vigo County casino could generate more than $100 mm annually in gross gaming revenue.

The casino is projected to have a $180 mm overall economic impact on the area on an annual basis.

A pair of Indiana gaming operators — Spectacle Entertainment and Full House Resorts — are eyeing a Terre Haute-area casino should voters approve of one, according to the Tribune-Star.

Spectacle, which is also busy with a separate plan to relocate its casino in Northwest Indiana to a more desirable location in Gary, recently partnered with industry newcomer USA Sports Gaming LLC for its sports betting plans, while Full House Resorts is linked up with Churchill Downs, Smarkets, and most recently Wynn Resorts for retail and online/mobile sports betting.

Indiana has been in a race against Illinois this year. So far, Northwest Indiana sportsbooks appear to be capturing a lot of the Chicago-area market. Illinois is still months away from implementing its sports betting law. The state-versus-state competition is on the mind of Indiana’s casino industry with regard to a potential Terre Haute casino.

“We believe west central Indiana and Vigo County is viable regardless of what happens across our western border [in Illinois, which expanded gaming statewide],” said Matt Bell, president and CEO of the Casino Association of Indiana, per the report. “But we think you have a unique opportunity and that is to get out the vote, support this referendum on Nov. 5, and make Indiana the first to market.”

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Brian Pempus

Brian served as a senior reporter and online content manager for Card Player Magazine for nearly a decade before joining USBets in October 2018. He is currently focused on legal and regulated sports betting and online gaming. He's an avid jiu-jitsu practitioner in his free time.

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