Launching In Indiana Is A ‘No-Brainer’ For 888Sport

Posted on December 2, 2020

Another new online sportsbook plans to launch in Indiana in 2021888Sport will become the state’s 11th online betting app if it’s able to come to market soon.

The sportsbook has a huge presence in Europe, but it’s still working on expanding across the US.

Yaniv Sherman, 888’s head of commercial development, has been focusing on that US expansion since the sportsbook’s New Jersey launch in 2018.

PlayIndiana spoke to Sherman earlier this week about 888’s Indiana future.

888Sport’s multi-state expansion includes Indiana

Indiana isn’t the only state that 888 is expanding to next year. The company also has new market agreements in place to launch in Colorado and Iowa.

So why Indiana? What made the state an attractive new market for the company?

According to Sherman, it’s all about the crazy love that Hoosiers have for sports.

“Indiana is such a strong sports state. Very few states have the spread and the depth for sports betting culture like Indiana. Once we made the decision and started working towards it, it felt like a no-brainer.”

Indiana is one of the bigger sports betting markets in the country, after all. Hoosiers wagered over $230 million on sports in the month of October alone.

Harrah’s Hoosier Park sportsbook

Online sportsbooks have to partner up with a retail casino in Indiana.

For example, DraftKings works with Ameristar East Chicago, and FanDuel works with Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City, Indiana.

888Sport is tethering itself to Harrah’s Hoosier Park.

Some casinos in the state already have multiple partners, but 888Sport will be Hoosier Park’s first.

Since Hoosier Park has never had an online partner before, it’s been next in line to enter the online side of the business for some time. Indiana Grand Casino is in the same spot.

Both “Racinos” are Caesars properties.

Caesars is selling off Tropicana Evansville, Caesars Southern Indiana and Horseshoe Hammond as part of its merger with Eldorado.

However, the company is keeping Hoosier Park, so both the casino and 888Sport will be working with Caesars for years to come.

The company is currently Caesars’ platform provider for its online poker product WSOP.com.

Sports are a big part of the company’s Indiana plans, but they aren’t the full picture. 888’s expansion into the Hoosier State is as much about online casinos as anything else.

888 wants in on Indiana online casinos

Indiana doesn’t have a legal, regulated online casino market yet.

However, that could change in the near future.

There’s going to be a legislative push for internet gaming in 2021, and if things go well, 888 wants to be front and center for the action.

Sherman says that the company wants to be a leader in Indiana’s future online casino market. It’s a huge part of 888’s plans for the state.

“We already have sizeable interest when it comes to sports, but if you want a path to profitability, you need to have an iGaming presence. Table games like blackjack and poker, this is where we excel. I hope that Indiana players will be able to enjoy iGaming soon and we’ll be able to create lots of tax revenue for the state.”

That tax revenue is one of the big upsides of online casinos. They’re a lot more profitable than sports betting.

Sen. Jon Ford, the legislator behind Indiana’s online casino bill, projects that iGaming could bring in between $45-$60 million in annual tax revenue for the state.

For the sake of comparison, sports wagering has only generated $12.3 million in taxes since betting began back in September 2019.

So regardless of whether online casinos come to Indiana next year, having a sportsbook in the state will get 888’s foot in the door.

It also gives Hoosiers a chance to get familiar with the company. The online casino market will be very competitive, so 888 will be happy build up as much brand awareness as possible leading up to the start of internet gaming.

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Jake Garza

Jake Garza is a sports writer based in Indianapolis, IN. He's an Indiana University graduate who's spent time as a sports reporter covering teams at the prep, collegiate and professional levels.

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