Last week, the online sports betting industry in the United States grew a little larger. Lawmakers in Indiana approved the online option, with two sports books getting the go-ahead to launch online on October 3rd. BetRivers and DraftKings Sportsbook have been approved and are the first to offer online sports betting in the state.
A Growing Trend
For decades, sports betting was extremely limited in the US due to the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. However, this act was struck down last May by the US Supreme Court. Because of this new ruling, any state could choose to legalize and regulate sports betting. Several states like New Jersey already had legislation on the books to be ready if the option became a reality.
For the most part, states focused on launching land-based services. States were casinos or other types of gaming venues like racinos were in operation, could quickly begin offering sports betting. After approvals, some venues opened temporary areas for wagering and are just now launching their permanent facilities.
For online gaming, there are now seven states in the US that offer the option. Indiana joins Iowa, West Virginia, Nevada, Rhode Island, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The option is attractive because players can wager from anywhere, without the need to be at a physical sportsbook location. This creates even more revenues as players are not restricted to being at a facility to place their wager.
Slow Acceptance in Indiana
In the state, there are several casino and off-track betting sites. Less than one month after retail sports betting was legalized, thirteen casinos and OTBs were in operation. Even though gambling is prevalent in the state, lawmakers were not too keen to get started with online betting. Sports is the only option allowed in the state and they are showing no signs of launching online casino or poker options in the future.
Because the online sports betting industry is new in Indiana, operators may take longer to be able to launch. With no experience, operators must learn about geolocation technology, managing player balances, platform software and additional requirements.
With only two sportsbooks now authorized to go online, the new market will be small in the beginning. The Indiana Gaming Commission is expected to approve a third operator by October’s end, but who that will be is anyone’s guess.
Legal Sports Report was told by Sara Gonso Tait, the Executive Director of the Gaming Commission, that there will ‘probably’ be another launch soon. There are several companies that could be in the running to seek approval next including FanDuel, William Hill, BetMGM, Fox Bet or Caesars Sportsbook among others.
Indiana has just over six million residents, which will create a relatively small market. Despite the smaller population when compared to other states, there is absolutely no other online betting option in the state. Gambling is already big business due to residents as well as travelers so it is expected that these same individuals will perhaps try to bet online as well.
Neighboring states also do not offer online sports betting, so there is potential to bring in revenues from nearby Michigan, Illinois and Ohio.
Over the next few months, we should see the online sports betting industry grow in Indiana and it will be some time still before we can see the full impact as to how the gambling industry will be affected by the new betting options. It will be interesting to see which companies enter the market next as approvals are provided by the Commission.