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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, July 20, 2019 1:00 am

9 licenses for sports betting get handed out

Temporary permits given as state develops its rules

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Gaming Commission has issued nine temporary licenses to Indiana casinos for sports wagering as it continues to develop rules and prepare for a debut later this year.

In addition to the casinos, three off-track betting parlors – including Winner's Circle in New Haven – have licenses to offer sports betting when it becomes legal Sept 1.

But it's unlikely everything will be up and running that quickly.

“Sept. 1 is the first day the activity can be offered but there are a lot of regulatory steps that need to be accomplished prior to launch,” said Jenny Reske, deputy director at the Indiana Gaming Commission. “We aren't ruling out that it's possible but there are no firm plans from any operator to launch on that date.”

Some casinos will make significant physical plant changes – such as a dedicated area for the sports book with seating and odds boards. Other issues to be addressed include hiring staff and finding a vendor to provide the mobile betting services.

Lawmakers authorized legal sports wagering earlier this year after a U.S. Supreme Court decision overturned a federal law banning state sports betting.

Reske said four companies have also filed for a vendor license. Those are being reviewed by commission staff.

The commission also has to set emergency rules to govern the activity. A draft of rules is available online for comment until Aug 1. The panel is set to adopt the rules at its Aug. 28 meeting.

Reske said “in the next few weeks we might know more on when we go live.” And she noted there could be a two-tier rollout – retail betting at the casinos and OTBs followed by the online/mobile component.

The commission is also creating an online voluntary self-exclusion program for sports wagering.

Those that have been issued temporary certificates of authority are: Ameristar, Belterra, Blue Chip, Caesars Southern Indiana, French Lick Resort, Hollywood Casino, Hoosier Park, Horseshoe Hammond, Indiana Grand, Winner's Circle Clarksville, Winner's Circle Indianapolis and Winner's Circle New Haven.

The Rising Star and Tropicana casinos haven't yet applied but representatives reached at both say they plan to soon. Majestic I and II casinos in Gary haven't either but they are in the middle of a major transition – moving one location inland for a $400 million new Hard Rock casino. The second license will be relinquished and used to open a new Terre Haute casino.

nkelly@jg.net