• The Indiana Gaming Commission is expected to approve its proposed sports wagering regulations on August 28, 2019.
  • Indiana sports betting law allows licensed casinos to begin sportsbook operations on September 1, 2019.
  • Neighboring states Ohio and Michigan still have a chance to legalize sports betting this year and Illinois already has.

INDIANAPOLIS – Sports fans and casinos alike in the Midwest are just as excited for sports betting in Indiana to launch.

The start of the 2019 NFL regular season is merely 31 days away and Indiana casinos are hoping to launch their brick-and-mortar sportsbooks in time to get a head start over neighboring states.

“There is definitely a first-mover advantage, there is also knowing that the NFL football season is the most popular sports to wager on,” said Dan Nita, Regional President of Caesars Entertainment. “The timing of it makes sense for us to get up and running as expeditiously as possible.”

The Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) will meet on August 28, 2019. It is there that the commission is expected to vote and approve final regulations for sports betting in the state. Indiana sportsbooks would then be able to start accepting bets as soon as September 1, 2019.

The IGC has already approved sports betting licensees to 10 of the states 13 casinos and three off-track betting facilities as well. While IN HB 1015, allows for casinos to operate state-wide sports wagering apps, it is expected for them to begin retail operations first.

A timely launch would help Indiana casinos gain a solid customer base not only for sports bettors in the state but also from neighboring states who have either legalized sports betting themselves or are considering it.

Boyd Gaming, which operates sportsbook casinos in both Mississippi and Pennsylvania, is also hoping to do the same in Indiana. Boyd Gaming owns the Blue Chip Casino Hotel Spa which is only an hour away from Chicago and minutes away from Michigan.

They also own the Belterra Casino Resort which sits on the Ohio River and is within an hour-long driving distance from Cincinnati, Ohio.

“We’re hopeful that it will draw in customers from throughout those properties’ markets, including Michigan and Kentucky,” said David Straw, spokesman for Boyd Gaming.

Michigan still has a chance to legalize sports betting this year and a key lawmaker is expected to introduce a bill later this month or early next month. The Ohio Legislature currently has a sports betting bill in committee and their legislative session will last until December 31, 2019.

Illinois, on the other hand, previously legalized sports betting in June of 2019 and approved both land-based on online sports wagering as well.

Although, online sports betting will likely be postponed to launch in the state thanks to an 18-month ban on certain online operators and a definitive timeline for when land-based sports betting will begin has also not yet been established.

Kentucky considered several sports betting bills during their 2019 legislative session but none of them were able to make it to the governor’s desk in time to be signed into law.

In either case, Indiana is poised to be one of the first Midwestern states to start accepting sports wagers. The effects of their early mover approach could not only help casinos profit over the 2019 NFL season, but it could also pressure other states to either pass bills or launch operations soon as well.

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