888 Joins Sports Illustrated To Bring SI Sportsbook To Indiana

Posted on June 28, 2021

Sports Illustrated and 888 Holdings are teaming up to create a new online betting app.

SI Sportsbook will make its debut in Colorado. The company plans to follow up with a launch in Indiana sometime later this year.

The deal is the latest example of a gaming company partnering with a media entity in the US.

Sportsbooks hunt for brand recognition

Sports Illustrated is providing the name, and 888 is handling the tech behind the product. Sportsbooks have been seeking out deals like this to help with brand recognition.

Most Hoosiers have probably never heard of 888 before, since most of the company is based in Europe.

However, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ve heard of Sports Illustrated. That’s what makes a deal like this worthwhile for both sides.

SI doesn’t have to invest millions to develop its own sportsbook technology, and 888 doesn’t have to spend years getting gamblers around the country familiar with its brand.

SI Sportsbook is just the latest edition of a media-gambling deal.

PointsBet Indiana and NBC are another example of a duo structuring that same kind of mutually beneficial partnership.

PointsBet is an Australian sportsbook that’s been expanding around the US over the last year and a half. It launched in Indiana back in March 2020.

Working with NBC helped make the company more visible.

There are 12 different online sportsbooks in Indiana, and PointsBet is the fourth-most popular option in the state. The betting app took in over $11 million worth of wagers during May alone.

SI Sportsbook is hoping for a similar trajectory once it opens for business in Indiana.

888 teams up with Caesars

SI Sportsbook could be a shift in 888’s Indiana strategy.

Originally, the company planned on launching its own sportsbook in the Hoosier State.

888sport is already taking bets over in Colorado, but progress has been moving slowly in Indiana.

The company hasn’t gotten around to snagging its temporary vendor license yet. That’s the first big step towards launching an online sportsbook in the state.

Without a license in hand, that means that 888’s debut is likely months away at the earliest.

The company might not have its license yet, but it does have an equally important piece of the sports betting puzzle.

Online sportsbooks have to partner up with a retail casino in Indiana before they can open for business. 888 already has a deal with Caesars, so the company has the market access it needs.

The question is: will 888 use that market access for 888sport or SI Sportsbook?

One of the betting apps will be teaming up with Harrah’s Hoosier Park as part of that deal. The other may have to find a different casino to work with in Indiana, or Caesars might expand the original deal to include both brands.

If one of the skins needs a different casino to work with, then Indiana Grand and Horseshoe Hammond would be solid options. Caesars owns both casinos, so it could be a quick fix to include them in an expanded version of 888’s market access deal.

Photo by Associated Press
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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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