Indiana Bans Sports Wagers On Events In Russia And Belarus

Posted on March 23, 2022

Indiana is now longer allowing betting on sports that are taking place in Russia and Belarus. The ban comes in response to the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Specifically, the Russian Kontinental Hockey League and the Belarus Extraleague are now off the table for gamblers. The Indiana Gaming Commission removed both options from the official wagering list.

Pandemic staples gone from Indiana sportsbooks

For the most part, the world has turned its back on Russia and its ally Belarus since the start of the conflict in Ukraine. That includes the world of sports.

If these two hockey leagues sound familiar, then you were probably betting on sports at the start of the pandemic.

Sports leagues everywhere began shutting their doors in March 2020. The Russian Kontinental Hockey League, the Belarus Extraleague and overseas baseball were the only sports left to bet on.

Eventually, the Belarus Extraleague became one of the lone standouts for gamblers throughout the state.

Wagering on both leagues likely bottomed out when more traditional options returned.

Despite that, not being able to bet on sports from Russia and Belarus shows just how far-reaching the consequences of the Ukraine conflict have become. The situation is even affecting Indiana sports betting.

Events in Russia and Belarus were a staple for gamblers during the pandemic. Now, those options are likely gone for good.

Most sportsbooks have cut ties

Many of the top sportsbooks around the country had already banned betting on sports in Russia and Belarus.

DraftKings, FanDuel, and Caesars, the three most popular sportsbooks in Indiana, were all quick to ban wagering on events from both countries once the invasion began.

Many of the other legal betting apps in the state removed markets on Russian events shortly afterward. Now, the gaming commission’s ban officially takes those options off the board for smaller companies that hadn’t already created a ban of their own.

Not the first Russian betting ban for Indiana

The gaming commission’s ban is the latest example of limiting wagers on Russian events, but it isn’t the first for Indiana.

The state stopped wagering on Russian table tennis back in 2020 due to some sketchy business practices from one of the country’s leagues.

In a nutshell, Moscow’s Liga Pro had games available for betting, but there wasn’t any information available for the action. The league was operating in secret with no way to watch the games or verify that they were even taking place.

Gaming officials weren’t able to contact the league for more information. Even the top table tennis officials in Europe weren’t sure what was actually going on in the Russian league.

That uncertainty led to the Indiana Gaming Commission pulling the games from the betting options list. It was a hit to Hoosier gamblers at the time, who didn’t have much to bet on thanks to the pandemic.

Obviously, that situation was for a much different reason than this new ban on events from Russia and Belarus.

However, it just goes to show that Russian events haven’t always been a reliable option for Indiana in the past. Indiana might eventually end its betting ban on Russian events, but that likely won’t be a possibility in the near future.

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Jake Garza

Jake Garza is a US Gambling Industry Analyst for Catena Media. He specializes in Midwest sports betting and casino content. Prior to covering the legal gambling industry, he spent time as a professional sports writer, reporting on teams such as the Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts and Indiana Pacers. Garza is currently working as a Managing Editor for PlayIndiana and PlayOhio, with previous stops at other well-known brands such as PlayIllinois and PlayMichigan. He has been covering the gambling industry since 2019, and currently works with a team of other journalists to provide comprehensive coverage of the legal U.S. gambling industry.

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