Sports betting launch in Indiana could be delayed

Hoosiers may have wait a little longer than expected to legally bet on sports. 

Indiana Gaming Commission Executive Director Sara Gonso Tait said Thursday that state regulators might not be ready by Sept. 1 to allow sports betting, even though a law approved earlier this year makes it legal beginning on that date.

“It is a tall order,” Tait said during a meeting of the regulatory body. “And there are many factors outside of our control.”

Tait said commission members are aiming to have everything in place for a Sept. 1 start date, but “are making no promises.” 

The law, which Gov. Eric Holcomb signed May 8, legalizes sports wagering on professional and college sports such as basketball, football and soccer as of Sept. 1, and implements a 9.5% tax rate on those wagers. Betting on esports or high school and other amateur youth sports is prohibited.

Hoosiers will be able to place bets by using their smartphones or at a casino, horse-racing casino or an off-track betting facility, such as Winner’s Circle in downtown Indianapolis, after registering online or at a casino, racino or OTB. 

The Gaming Commission is allowed to start accepting applications from casinos, rasinos and OTBs interested in offering sports betting as of July 1. Tait said the commission is in the process of drafting that application.

Casino Association of Indiana President and CEO Matt Bell told IBJ earlier this month that he hasn’t heard of any casino not planning to pursue the opportunity. 

Once a casino is approved, it can work with up to three vendors to create a sports-betting platform.

Tait said that process of accepting and reviewing applications, and giving the casinos time to reach agreements with vendors and data providers can be lengthy, which is why the initial start date may be delayed.

On Thursday, Tait suggested it’s possible that sports betting will be rolled out in phases—initially by launching at casinos, racinos and OTBs before introducing mobile sports betting, because the mobile component is more complicated to prepare.

The Gaming Commission’s next meeting is in August, and an update on the process is expected then. 

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