TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - The Indiana Gaming Commission says the opening month of sports betting at Indiana Casinos attracted $34.5 million in wagers. Sports betting at casinos became legal in Indiana on September 1st. Another thing to consider is that not all casinos started accepting sports wagers on the first day available for betting, so that number will undoubtedly grow.
Indiana Senator Jon Ford has authored several of the bills around the potential casino in Terre Haute as well as sports wagering. He says over $300 million worth of illegal bets are placed in Indiana each year. The goal of wanting to legalize gambling was to put that money into a regulated market. This allows the state to tax it, make sure people are of age, and put consumer protections in place.
Senator Ford also says that sports wagering has a pretty low margin for casinos. For instance, of that $35.5 million, the state of Indiana made $813,000. He says sports wagering will be more of a marketing tool than a moneymaker should a casino come to Terre Haute. "Sports wagering is a quality form of entertainment and people in Indiana really want to have that ability," he said, "Sports betting will not bring huge dollars to the Terre Haute community, but it will help get people in the door."
Sports betting within the potential Terre Haute casino will be part of adding to the decreasing tax base. Ford says this will also make Terre Haute and Indiana as a whole more competitive to consumers. "Sports wagering is just another tool we can give our casinos here in Indiana to fight off competition from neighboring states," he said, "I think it's important for Terre Haute because obviously Illinois, right next door, will at some point have sports wagering."
Sports wagering on mobile apps also became authorized on October 3 in the state of Indiana.