Indiana Sports Betting By NFL Season? State May Not Reach End Zone

Posted on June 1, 2019 - Last Updated on September 19, 2019

Indiana residents are excited about the prospects of legal sports betting in the state.

But when will the first bets happen in the state? That’s not exactly clear. But here’s what we know.

Indiana sports betting in 2019?

The law the state passed in May that legalized sports betting said that it could go live on Sept. 1.

But that date does not seem at all likely to be the start date for Indiana sports betting, according to the Indiana Business Journal.

That outlet classifies it as a “delay,” but going from no sports betting to live wagering within four months would have taken a Herculean effort.

Rules must be written, licenses issued, operators vetted, etc. That’s a lot of work.

That being said, it’s still at least feasible that the first sportsbooks go live, if Indiana regulators work hard over the summer, in 2019. If not before NFL season, the first sports bets on NFL games and the Indianapolis Colts will come some time this fall.

Online sports betting by 2020

The Sept. 1 launch would be for physical Indiana sportsbooks only. There’s little chance the first Indiana betting apps could launch before the NFL season begins.

In fact, there’s more reason to believe 2020 is a more likely timeframe.

The best comparison might be West Virginia, which legalized sports wagering in 2018. The first sports betting app actually launched in WV at the very end of 2018. But problems with the rollout of that app caused it to shut down. As of late May, there are no apps live in the state.

Pennsylvania just launched online sports betting in May, as well, despite the fact that its sports betting law was enacted in 2017.

That’s not to say that Indiana couldn’t quickly get up and running, but sports betting is again new to the state. Regulators will likely trend toward being careful rather than rushing toward a launch, given the experience in other states.

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Nick Garcia

Nick comes from West Texas where he graduated from Texas Tech University with a degree in psychology. After a five-year stint in Chicago, where he wrote about local politics and graduated with a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia College Chicago, he moved to Washington, D.C. to write about issues related to gambling policy, sports betting and responsible gaming.

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