Caesars Entertainment Corp. plans to update its Winner’s Circle off-track betting facility in downtown Indianapolis, as well as its casinos in Shelbyville, Anderson and other Indiana properties, in preparation for the legalization of sports gambling later this year.
Caesars plans to add sportsbooks—areas where patrons can bet on sporting events—to its four casinos and three OTB facilities around the state.
The facility updates aren't expected to be affected by Monday's announcement that Reno, Nevada-based Eldorado Resorts Inc. plans to acquire Caesars in a cash-and-stock deal valued at $17.3 billion. The updates should be completed by the end of the year, before the expected close of the deal in the first half of 2020.
Information on the total investment in the seven properties was not disclosed.
The move is in response to a new state law that allows Hoosiers to place wagers on professional and college sports as soon as Sept. 1. Bets can be placed via smartphone or at a casino, horse-racing casino or OTB after patrons register online.
The Indiana Gaming Commission said late last month that it might not be ready for sports betting by that date, but Caesars is getting its operations ready now.
“We’re just kind of getting prepared for when those [new sports gambling regulations] come in,” said Kyle Waggoner, a vice president of hospitality at Caesars.
At the Winner’s Circle, Waggoner said, Caesars will add extra bar seating and televisions, and create a more open floor plan so that patrons can see TV screens from throughout the facility. Terminals will be added where patrons can place wagers on sports. Those terminals will be in addition to the facility’s existing horse-race betting terminals.
The overall effect, Waggoner said, will be a sports-bar type atmosphere with “a more modern fresh feel to the location.”
The Winner’s Circle is also adding an activity area with cornhole boards and shuffleboard as a nod to the younger patrons that Caesar’s expects to draw because of sports betting. The typical patron wagering on horse racing is age 50-plus, Waggoner said.
"We feel that our clientele’s probably going to get a little bit younger,” he said.
Caesars will add similar amenities to its Indiana Grand casino in Shelbyville, Harrah’s Hoosier Park racino in Anderson, Horseshoe Southern Indiana in southeastern Indiana, Horseshoe Hammond in northwestern Indiana, and its other OTB locations in Clarksville and New Haven.