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You bet! First legal sports wagers in Indiana to take place this weekend - WPTA

30th August, 23:29

NEW HAVEN, Ind. (WPTA21) - The Labor Day weekend will mark the start of legalized betting in Indiana on football, baseball and other sports -- but the first location to take action in the ABC21 viewing area isn't quite ready yet.

The Winner's Circle Race and Sports Pub in New Haven has served as an off-track betting center for horse racing and will soon expand to a much wider range of sports betting.

But the New Haven location won't be taking those bets until some time later in September.

A flurry of other sports books are set to open at the start of the month, as they gain approval from state regulators.

Caesars Entertainment is Indiana's biggest casino operator and is targeting a Sunday start for sports wagering at its Indiana Grand casino in Shelbyville, near Indianapolis. It plans to offer it at its OTB in downtown Indianapolis on Tuesday and at its Horseshoe Hammond casino just across the state line from Chicago the following day.

Rival Penn National is also jumping quickly with Sunday starts planned for its casinos that also tap big nearby metro areas: Ameristar East Chicago and Hollywood in Lawrenceburg, which is a short drive from Cincinnati and its northern Kentucky suburbs.

Back in New Haven, Winner's Circle manager David Doyle told ABC21 that he's receiving plenty of questions from eager customers.

"We've had a lot of folks express some interest on being able to place sports bets -- pretty much since this hit the legislation," he said. "So, now that the bill has passed, excitement is really building up."

In Indiana, gamblers must be 21 or older in order to place a bet. Indiana will allow the casinos to take wagers on dozens of professional, collegiate and international events, including football, basketball, baseball, auto racing, hockey, soccer, boxing, golf and Olympic competitions.

No betting is allowed on high school or youth sporting events, or e-sports.

Local psychologist Dr. Stephen Ross said what might be fun for some is a potential problem for others.

Ross said it may take some time to fully grasp the effects of the expansion of gambling in the state.

"How many divorces are caused? How many bankruptcies are caused?" he asked.

Gamblers will have to register and prove their age with a casino before being able to use a mobile wagering app. Those online apps, however, must use geofencing technology so that the bets are placed within the state borders, meaning any Chicago residents would have to cross into Indiana each time they wanted to place a bet using their cellphone.

An Indiana legislative report projects that the state will collect only about $13 million a year in revenue from its 9.5% tax on the casinos' sports bets winnings.

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