Indiana prepares for the legalization of sports betting

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – In a little over a week, sports betting will be legal in Indiana. Eleven casinos in the state are preparing to open sportsbooks.

Opening a sportsbook isn’t easy.

“We want to make sure we are doing this responsibly,” said Kyle Waggoner, Vice President of Hospitality for Indiana Grand Racing and Casino.

Aside from cosmetic preparations like a new bar, TVs and seating, Winner’s Circle Pub in downtown Indianapolis and other aspiring sports betting locations need approval from the Indiana Gaming Commission.

“You want to make sure that the systems are secure, that patron data is protected,” said Jenny Reske, the Deputy Director of the Indiana Gaming Commission.  Reske said they are doing what they can to make sure sports betting is fair for everyone.

No locations have been approved yet but eleven locations are expected to get the green light before September 1.

“Fingers crossed,” said Waggoner.

Operators hope sports betting attracts a more diverse crowd to gaming.

“We anticipate our clientele to really change over the next few months,” said Waggoner. “Some fresh faces, some younger faces.”

We asked Indianapolis resident Lucas Mueller if he thought this would bring young people into Winner’s Circle Pub.

“Yeah, young people like to do stupid things like bet on sports so, yeah I think that they probably would,” said Mueller. He added that he is risk averse and probably wouldn’t choose to bet on sports himself.

Indianapolis resident Ben Molin said he would be willing to place a sports bet.

“I think it’s exciting,” said Molin. “I think that it will definitely bring in some revenue for the city and state which is awesome.”

That’s a big reason State Senator Ron Alting helped pass this bill. He said sports betting was already taking place illegally in the state.

“Two things, it’s monitoring it, being in charge of it, regulating it, and collecting a tax on it,” said Alting.

He said the biggest money maker will be the mobile application that’s expected to be available in late September or October.

“In fact, 90 percent of all the income on sports betting comes from the mobile app,” said Sen. Alting.

Brick and mortar places are glad there’s a little time before then.

“It gives us the opportunity to really build the experience for folks,” said Waggoner. “People are going to want to stop by before they go to the Pacers game or the Colts game and throw a bet down on the Colts and the Pacers and then go and enjoy the game and come back and cash their ticket and have a few beers and enjoy the rest of the day. So, it should be a great opportunity for our location and where we are in the middle of downtown.”

We will continue monitoring the approval process for sports betting locations and let you know about official start dates when they are released.

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