Indiana Sports Betting Opens the Day Before the 2019 NFL Season

October 18, 2019 Matt Speakman

The Horseshoe Hammond Casino in Indiana will open the state’s first sportsbook starting September 4, 2019. The first NFL regular season game is on September 5, 2019. Was the close proximity a marketing strategy, or was it a genuine “right in the nick of time” coincidence? That remains unclear. But what is certain is that Indiana’s debut licensed sportsbook is here, and it’s opening in an established casino that’s extremely popular in the region. In fact, Horseshoe is the largest casino in the state by far. To put its dominance into perspective, the second biggest is the Indiana Grand Racing and Casino, which has over 800 fewer Slots and zero table games (compared to Horseshoe’s 100+ table games).

What to Expect at “The Book”

Sports betting has officially kicked off in Indiana © Denny Medley / USA TODAY Sports

The Horseshoe Hammond is a casino, hotel, and concert venue. They have several bars and restaurants, shopping, entertainment, and a location that’s around the corner from a renowned golf course. Players can partake in all the major table games, like Blackjack and Roulette, and the Slot selection features over a thousand penny Slots alone. Multiplayer poker rooms and high-roller lounges are also available. For those planning a visit, they offer package deals worth investigating.

Especially now that there’s “The Book,” the Horseshoe sports betting lounge that features 5,300 square feet of space, massive TVs, stat resources, and a full bar. The area offers a variety of seating options, but the most notable are the theater seats, which are plush, comfortable, and provide an unhindered view of every broadcast.

“The Book” will take bets across a wide range of sports at both the college and professional level (college football is well underway). Some additional examples of sports include soccer, baseball, basketball, and hockey. Bets can also be placed on racing events like horses and auto, which will also be aired on the big screens.

Indiana Has a Massive Head Start on Illinois

One of Horseshoe Hammond Casino’s largest customer bases is folks who live in and around Chicago. As the third largest city in the United States by population (and the largest in Illinois by over 13x), the Windy City’s greater metropolitan area is teeming with the vast majority of Illinoisans. And, funny enough, most Chicagoans are within 20 miles of Horseshoe’s parking lot. Since the state of Illinois has been slower to roll out their casinos—much less sportsbooks—Horseshoe is getting out ahead of the competition.

As Dan Nita, regional president for Caesars Entertainment (which owns Horseshoe Gaming), put it: “The legalization of sports betting in Indiana presents a huge opportunity for Horseshoe Hammond. I’m optimistic of the positive effect this will have on attracting new customers to our casino.”

Six casinos are set to open across six different Illinois cities, including Chicago. But at the time of writing this article, they were still debating about where in the city the new casino should go, meaning construction hasn’t even begun. Meanwhile, you can take public transportation to Chinatown and hop on the Horseshoe Casino shuttle, which takes under an hour to get players to the only sportsbook around. Legalizing gambling in Illinois is meant to keep tax revenue inside the state lines. But for now, they’re stuck watching a sportsbook rush take place in the state next door.

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