Indiana legalized sports betting — both at physical sportsbooks and online — with a new law that took effect in May 2019. The first sportsbooks should launch this September.
But while the law is in effect, legal wagering is not here quite yet. Here’s more about what you need to know about sports betting — and other forms of gambling — in Indiana.
When will Indiana have legal sports gambling?
It appears that the first physical sportsbooks will go live on or soon after Sept. 1. Long story short: NFL season for the first wagers at sportsbooks is very possible.
Online sports betting is likely to follow fairly quickly, although there is no set timetable for launch. Sportsbook apps could go live in September, October or later in the fall.
The state legislature passed a law in May 2019 — and signed by the governor — that will create what should be a vibrant sports betting industry.
There will be sports betting at any casino, racino or off-track wagering facility that applies for a license and receives one. They can also offer online and mobile wagering, should they choose to do so and get their sportsbook app approved.
On the operator side, sports betting revenue is taxed at a rate of 9.5%. Vendors pay $100,000 for an initial license and $50,000 annually after that.
Plans are in motion to bring state-regulated sports betting to Indiana as of Sept. 1. Gov Eric Holcomb signed sports betting bill H 1015 into law back in May, and all involved seem determined to make the start of NFL season 2019, a big one.
Sports betting will be legal at state casinos, racinos, and off-track betting shops, as well as via sports betting apps and websites.
Existing laws license 10 land-based or riverboat casinos on Lake Michigan and the Ohio River. Additionally there is one casino in French Lick and two racinos—casinos based at horse tracks. One tribal casino operates in the state and the new laws give it too the opportunity to acquire a sports betting license.
Most importantly of all, the new law allows for mobile sports betting. This was not in the first version of the law but was sensibly inserted before making it to the floor. In most markets, mobile sports betting accounts for around 80 percent of revenues.
Key elements of the new law are:
Not all casinos have to apply for a sports betting license, and not all will want to add mobile sports betting. However, based on their ownership we can make a fair stab at what many of the casinos will do.
|Blue Chip Casino||Michigan City||Riverboat|
|Four Winds South Bend||South Bend||Native American|
|French Lick Resort Casino||French Lick||Land-based|
|Horseshoe Southern Indiana||Elizabeth||Riverboat|
|Indiana Grand Casino||Shelbyville||Racino|
|Majestic Star II||Gary||Riverboat|
|Rising Star Casino Resort||Rising Sun||Riverboat|
The Ameristar is operated by Penn National which is already active in several sports betting markets.
Penn National will run its own sportsbooks in collaboration with Kambi, a European company.
Penn National will definitely offer sports betting at the Ameristar and will put mobile sports betting into the market as soon as possible.
It also has deals with DraftKings, theScore and The Stars Group (PokerStars & Fox Bet) to allow them to offer sports betting in Indiana.
The Belterra is operated by Boyd Gaming. It took over from Penn National in October 2018 after acquiring the license from Penn National.
Boyd Gaming is also active in other states. It launched its first sports betting outside Nevada in Mississippi at the P Casino Resort Spa in Biloxi, and Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall in Tunica.
Boyd has a strategic partnership with DraftKings rival FanDuel. Over in New Jersey the two DFS specialists have staked out the top two revenue earning slots in the state.
Boyd has put itself in a competitive position with FanDuel which will almost certainly provide the sportsbook for the Belterra. As an online specialist, FanDuel will want to get to the market quickly to stake out a similar market share to the leading position it has in New Jersey.
Boyd Gaming is also the owner of the Blue Chip. Expect the same FanDuel powered sportsbook to go live, but Boyd will stick to FanDuel as its main mobile sportsbook.
The Four Winds is a tribal casino owned by the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians. The tribe also owns three casinos in Michigan.
Michigan sports betting is following Indiana and should have sports betting legislation passed this year with first bets in the Fall of 2020.
However, this means the Four Winds is not yet up and running anywhere with sports betting. After the Supreme Court decision to overturn the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), the tribe said that they would look into sports betting.
As of now it’s not known whether the Four Winds will apply for a license or with whom they will partner.
A riverboat casino on dry land is one way to describe the French Lick Resort Casino. It was designed as a riverboat surrounded by a small pond. The pond was filled in and it became Indiana’s first land-based casino.
It is owned by Orange County Holdings which is expected to introduce sports betting. No technology partner is known.
The Hollywood Casino Lawrenceburg is the second Penn National operated property in Indiana. Expect a sportsbook here as well.
Caesars Entertainment bought Hoosier Park in 2018. The racino might be rebranded Harrah’s Hoosier Park at some point, but meanwhile more important changes are afoot.
Eldorado Resorts is in the process of buying Caesars in a reverse takeover. Caesars has sports betting partners including DraftKings and Scientific Games. Eldorado is partnered with William Hill and the Stars Group.
That means Caesars has a lot of options when it comes to offering online sports betting operations via its license. And in Indiana, Caesars has a lot of property. It also operates the two Horsehoe Casinos.
In New Jersey, Caesars runs sports betting at two out of three of its properties. It may take a similar approach in Indiana.
Caesars’ Horsehoe Indiana property is the largest riverboat in the United States, and the world’s largest riverboat casino.
It will definitely offer on-site sports betting, and will change its name to Caesars sometime in 2020, unless the Eldorado merger changes those plans.
Each Caesars property has its own unique features and with the Horseshoe Hammond it is the largest poker room in the Mid-West.
No sports betting confirmed, but it is likely that Caesars will want a sports betting venue in this great lakeside location.
The Indiana Grand is yet another Caesars property and its second racino property in Indiana.
The Majestic Stars are not owned by a multi-state casino group, so the owners have no pre-existing experience in sports betting. However, that looks about to change.
Owner Spectacle Entertainment has struck a deal with the Hard Rock Group to create a Hard Rock branded casino by moving the Majestic Star 18 miles inland. The new $400 million development is designed to lure Illinois gamblers across the border.
The Hard Rock opened in New Jersey last summer and almost immediately launched sports betting. It is partnered with the Gaming Innovation Group (GIG) for its New Jersey platform and may continue that partnership in Indiana.
The Hard Rock is also partnered with the Kindred Group which operates an online sports betting skin as one of three online partners permitted by its New Jersey license. There is definitely scope for the Kindred Group to expand its sports betting footprint to Indiana.
Majestic Stars II is the former Trump Casino in Gary which was sold by Trump in 2005. It’s not clear whether it will launch sports betting at this point.
Owned by Full House Resorts, the Rising Star is highly likely to apply for a sports betting license. The company owns five casinos, including the Silver Slipper in Mississippi.
Mississippi was quick to launch sports betting and the Silver Slipper decided it did not want to be left out. It partnered with William Hill and was one of the earliest sportsbooks to open in the state.
William Hill is Rising Star’s natural partner for Indiana and will probably get the casino’s sportsbook up and running in time for NFL season.
Eldorado Resorts is the new owner of Caesars and all of its Indiana properties, but it has an Indiana casino of its own, the Tropicana Evansville.
As with most of the Caesars properties, it’s not certain what will happen in the short term.
Sports betting has changed enormously with the advances in technology over the past decade. Even bettors used to using black market offshore sites will find a modern regulated sports betting app a huge leap forward.
One of the most important changes is the use of real time, or near real time data. This has enabled operators to offer a plethora of in-game betting options and often the opportunity to cash out a bet early.
It may be daunting for beginners but there is a range of bet types that is fairly standard across all modern sports betting platforms. Here’s a quick rundown of the most popular.
A moneyline bet is a bet on which team or player will win a match. They are very simple although the odds may seem a little confusing at first.
In the NFL Kickoff Game the Chicago Bears are playing the Green Bay Packers. Let’s imagine that the Packers are favorites to win.
A sportsbook will quote the odds something like:
Odds that look like this are known as American Odds or Moneyline Odds. The (-) sign means that you bet that amount to win $100. The (+) sign means you win that amount for every $100 you bet.
In this case, if you bet $150 on the Bears you would win $100 if they won the game. If you bet $100 on the Packers and they won, you would win $150. In both cases, you would also receive your original stake back.
Parlay bets are another straightforward way to bet. Think of these as a series of moneyline bets all tied together.
In a typical parlay you would select several games taking place on the same day, and try to forecast the winner of each.
You could place a bet on each game independently, but if you create a parlay out of your bets, you could win a lot more money for a much smaller bet.
The trick is that you only win if you forecast the results of every game correctly. If you have a six leg parlay, you have to get all six bets correct or you lose the whole bet.
The odds of getting all six matches correct are low, but that is where the fun comes in. Because the chances of winning are small, a bet of a few dollars becomes a very big win on the rare occasion when you get it correct.
Parlay bets are a great way to make the most entertainment from your betting buck. Once you have won the first leg or two of a parlay bet, every subsequent match in your parlay is a real sweat. There is nothing more exciting than waiting to see if the final game in a seven leg parlay will go your way and give you a life-changing win.
It’s not always easy to work out your potential winnings, so online sports betting sites offer a parlay function. This that allows you to create a list of bets that maximize your entertainment value, chances of winning, potential prize money and at a bet level you can afford.
Spread betting is slightly more complicated but after your first bet, you will understand the concept completely.
In a spread bet, you bet on the team you think has the best chance of beating the spread.
The spread is calculated by the bookmaker almost like a handicapping process. Done correctly a bet on either team should have an equal chance of winning — less the vig for the bookmaker of course.
To create the spread the bookmaker sets a line based on the final score of a game. The favorite is given a line as a negative number such as -10 for an NBA game. The underdog’s line is shown with a positive figure e.g +10.
If you bet on the favorite and they win by more than 10 points you win your bet. If you bet on the underdog and they lose by less than 10 points, you win the bet.
The spread figure is always accompanied by the odds for each team beating the spread. You use these odds to calculate your potential winnings.
In the 2019 Super Bowl the Patriots and Rams were equally matched. On the day bookmakers quoted the spread bet as:
The Patriots romped home by 13 to 3.
A $112 bet on the Patriots would have won $100. Of course any spread bet on the Rams would have lost.
If you bet $100 on the Rams, you would have won $107 if the Rams had beaten the Patriots by one point.
Futures bets are placed on an event in the future. Typically future bets are on outcomes at the end of season or a major tournament.
They can be on teams or individual players. A typical bet might be on who will win the World Series, or which NFL player will score the most touchdowns over the season.
Totals bets are not made on who the winner of a match will be. The winner is irrelevant. In a totals bet you are betting on what the total score of both teams added together will be.
The bookmaker quotes a line and you take either the over or the under. That’s why these bets are also known as over-unders.
In the Bears v Packers example above, the line might be set at 42. The odds would be quoted like this:
Remember you’re not betting on a team, you’re betting on the game itself.
Parlay bets are a simple extension of moneyline bets. Round Robin bets are a similar development of the parlay bet.
To create a round-robin bet you make a list of all the teams you want to include in a series of parlay bets. Next you decide how many legs you want each parlay to have.
If you choose to have three leg parlays and put eight teams on your list, the round robin creates every possible three-leg parlay for all eight teams. In this case that’s 56 separate parlay bets.
Fortunately, you don’t have to win all 56 parlays to win a round robin. Your winnings are calculated by adding together the results of each parlay bet. Every parlay bet is the same size in a round robin, you can’t play favorites with any particular parlay.
Again the online operators make it easy with a round robin function. You can use this to see how the odds and potential winnings change as you adjust the teams in your list and the number of legs in your parlays.
In-play betting is the real advantage of using a legal state-regulated site. Only the regulated sports betting operators get access to the near real-time data needed to create these bets.
In-play or in-game betting usually involves using simple bet types to bet on an event after the game has started.
You can bet on what the score may be at the end of the first quarter, or which player will score the next touch down, or who will do any of a hundred different things as the match progresses.
In developed markets like the UK up to 80 percent of sports bets are placed in-game. The US isn’t at that level yet, but it’s catching up quickly.
If there’s a big game on and you are watching with friends, in-game bets are a great way to get that extra bit of enjoyment out of the game.
It seems counter-intuitive, but online sportsbooks can allow you to cash out a bet before you know whether you have won or not.
It is again down to the availability of great real-time data. The operators can calculate the chances of your bet succeeding in real time. This means you can ask to be paid out on a bet that looks like it’s going to win before the end of a match.
Assume you bet on the Patriots to win the Super Bowl, and see them take the lead in the game. At this point they are the clear favorites, and the sportsbook will recalculate the value of your bet to reflect the fact.
This means you can cash out the value of your bet at the time. It’s a way of locking in some winnings if you think the opposing team might just stage a comeback and ruin what’s currently looking like a win for you.
It works in reverse too. If your team is losing you can cash out early and get back a proportion of your bet based on the probability that your team might make a late recovery.
Live sports betting will launch in the casinos first, but online sportsbooks will quickly follow.
Once you have decided which sportsbook you want to bet at, you need to open an account. Registering is quick and easy but you will have to provide information that allows the operator to verify your age and identity. This is an important protection to avoid underage gambling.
Your email, address and a partial Social Security number are usually sufficient to get you started. From there, the sportsbook will be able to identify that you are who you say you are.
If you are placing a bet at a physical sportsbook, there’s usually no need to identify yourself unless you are placing a very large wager.
Another advantage of betting at a state-regulated sportsbook is that deposits and withdrawals are fast and easy.
Offshore sportsbooks can take weeks to pay out your winnings. The legal sportsbooks in Indiana will be able to make almost instant payments and accept a wide variety of deposit methods.
Standard deposit methods in other jurisdictions include:
Withdrawal options are as much the same as is possible. Some deposit methods won’t be valid for withdrawals, but there will always be a rapid withdrawal method you can use.
The new law explicitly states that you can’ bet on esports or any competition for with athletes under 18. That means betting on high school sports is out.
The regulator will make further exclusions as the rules develop.
Indiana’s law looks to be comparatively restrictive in that it will only permit bets on sporting contests, so bets on the Oscars or on the NFL or NBA drafts willlikely not be allowed.
The law allows mobile sports betting, and you will still need to download an app to bet on your mobile device.
This is fine for Android devices, but Apple iOS devices may face a delay. Apple has demanded that gambling apps in the App Store must be compliant with its own standards.
One problem is that Apple needs to be sure that the app will be used legally. That means it needs accurate geolocation information.
Most online sportsbooks are busy re-writing their Apple apps to comply, but in the meanwhile there is a solution, at least one that is being used in Pennsylvania.
The company that provides most states with their geo-location services is GeoComply. They have produced an app called “GeoGuard Location Validator.”
With this free app installed on your iOS device, Apple can determine your location precisely. This allows you to bet on sports on your device legally.
Indiana has its fair share of popular sports teams. The most popular include:
Bets on college sports will be legal, but we have to wait to see what restrictions will be paced on matches involving Indiana college teams.
The sportsbook providers will offer a full selection of sports for betting. Most operators offer bets on all of:
Horse race betting is already legal in Indiana. Pari-mutuel betting was legalized in 1969.
The two racinos, Hoosier Park and the Indiana Grand offer a full program of horse race betting. Both are also likely to add sports betting to their range of services.
This has been an extremely effective strategy for the two licensed racetracks in New Jersey, Monmouth Park and Meadowlands. horse racing is an industry in long term decline, yet legal sports betting in New Jersey is providing impetus for a revival.
The new law that permits legal sports betting in Indiana is H1015 which the Governor signed into law on May 8, 2019.
In May 2018, the Supreme Court ruled that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) contravened the 10th amendment to the constitution.
PASPA effectively banned states from enacting sports betting legislation unless it was in place before 1992. This provision is why Nevada was unaffected and continued to offer sports betting over the last few decades.
With PASPA out of the way states are free to legislate for legal sports betting as well as other online and offline gambling activities.
The Wire Act of 1962 still prevents sports betting from taking place across state borders. This is why Indiana sports betting must be restricted to persons within the state boundaries.
Indiana has taken the right approach to regulated sports betting. Fees and taxes are low, mobile sports betting is permitted and there are relatively limited restrictions on sports and bet types.
Indiana has not demanded that players sign up for online accounts in person as some other states have done.
However, as it stands, the success of Indiana sports betting legislation will be limited.
It is a mistake not to legislate for online casino games and online poker. International experience shows that the proportion of customers attracted to the legal sites reduces if their favorite gambling games are not offered.
Online casino games generate phenomenal revenues for New Jersey and ensure that no one needs to go to a black market site to have a gamble. A few things are missing, but New Jersey is 90 percent of the way there.
Gambling legislation is always promoted as a customer protection issue. If the legislation doesn’t attract the maximum percentage of bettors from black market sites it can’t be a success.
The proof of the pudding will be in the revenue numbers. On a per capita basis, they are almost certainly going to be lower than New Jersey.
Assuming sports betting does succeed there is a good chance that online poker and casino games can be added to the mix.
Sports betting is now legal in Indiana. It is not yet available because the operators and regulator are working together to ensure a launch for Sept. 1, 2019.
Offshore sports betting sites may be acting legally based on the laws in their home countries, but it doesn’t mean they are legal under US law.
The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA) made it illegal for the US financial system to process transactions to gambling sites that don’t comply with US law.
All online gambling sites that are not licensed by a US state are inevitably going to breach the UIGEA if they serve US customers.
As to safety, that is simple. No matter how apparently reputable an offshore operator appears, you have no legal recourse in the event that things go wrong.
There are good reasons to leave your offshore operator and join the state-regulated market:
Yes, you should be able to cash out bets early if your sportsbook operator offers the service.
FanDuel will be a legal sports betting operator in Indiana, assuming it obtains a license through a partner casino. FanDuel has a deal with Boyd Gaming that should see it gain market access in Indiana.
The same holds true for the other big DFS operator DraftKings. It will use one of its partners for market access.
You can use your PayPal account to fund your sports betting account at some sportsbooks. It is likely that PayPal will be available for deposits at most Indiana sportsbooks but not necessarily for withdrawals — at least in the early stages of the rollout.
Each operator has a different payment processing strategy and selects payment options that suit its target customers.
If PayPal is not available other online payment processors such as Skrill and NETELLER almost certainly will be.
The new laws allow betting on college sports.
In terms of the number of operators in the market, Indiana can comfortably sustain at least a dozen live and online brands.
As to total revenues, that is a matter of debate. Total handle will be lower than New Jersey because Indiana has a smaller population and a lower average income.
On the other hand a lot depends on what the industry calls “betting propensity,” that is how likely people are to bet in what amounts.
Since launching sports betting in May 2018, New Jersey sports betting handle is in excess of $3.2 billion.
Operators have seen revenues of almost $204 million and the state has collected almost $24 million in taxes.
If Indiana’s figures are two thirds of this a year after launching sports betting, that would be a good result.
You must be 21 to bet on sports or wager in a casino.
The online sportsbook operators must use sophisticated geolocation technology to ensure that you don’t place any bets outside the Indiana state border.
The technology is extremely accurate, but you may still have problems with mobile devices if you are within a few meters of the border.
The devices use wifi signals to triangulate your locations, and in rural areas these can sometimes be inadequate.
We don’t know exactly which sports betting apps will appear in Indiana, but we can make some educated guesses.
And that’s just a partial list. With the large number of licenses available, we could see dozens of sports betting apps launch in the state eventually.