PlayUp Is Ready to Launch in Indiana

Online gaming operators are already lining up to launch in the state of Indiana. The Hoosier State failed to pass either of its two potential iGaming bills this year. However, that is not stopping developers like PlayUp from preparing for a potential launch in the state.

PlayUp is an Australian-based iGaming company that already operates in two US states. The company already has a deal in place with Caesars Entertainment to cooperate on an iGaming platform in Indiana. Once the Hoosier State approves online casino games, PlayUp and Caesars will be ready to hit the ground running.

Unfortunately, any approval will have to wait until next year. Both iGaming bills failed to get out of committee in this year’s session. However, Indiana lawmakers are likely to consider new bills next year. If approved, iGaming could generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.

PlayUp Is Preparing for Eventual Indiana Launch

The Australian-based iGaming developer PlayUp is gearing up for a launch in the Hoosier State. PlayUp has a deal in place with Caesars Entertainment to operate their online casino in Indiana. Now, the companies just need state legislators to legalize online gambling.

Online casino proponents could be waiting for some time. This year, lawmakers considered two bills that would have legalized iGaming in Indiana. However, neither bill even made it out of committee. Still, iGaming proponents hope that a bill passing will pass during the next session in 2023.

Currently, Indiana does allow online gambling through online sportsbooks. The Hoosier State legalized electronic sportsbooks in 2019. The bill to legalize online sports betting originally included online casinos as well. However, lawmakers had to remove iGaming from the legislation in order to get it to pass. Three years later, the fight for legal online slot machines and table games in Indiana continues.

What Is PlayUp?

Caesars Entertainment is one of the largest casino developers in the US. For their potential online gaming operations in Indiana, Caesars has partnered with PlayUp. The Australian-based iGaming company creates platforms for bettors to place their online wagers.

Online sportsbooks have played a large part in the recent US sports betting boom. However, iGaming has lagged behind. Currently, only half a dozen states allow legal iGaming operators. Indiana could be the next to join the list.

PlayUp already has a presence in the US. The online wagering and technology company offers iGaming in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. It also operates sportsbooks in Colorado and  New Jersey. They hope to launch sportsbooks in Indiana and Iowa in the coming months.

The Australian-based gaming company also offers a racebook. PlayUp is the official sports betting partner of the NHL team the New Jersey Devils. By partnering with Caesars, PlayUp gains more brand recognition.

Will Indiana Legalize iGaming?

PlayUp and Caesars Entertainment will not be the only proponents of iGaming in the Hoosier State. Indiana has allowed sports betting, both in-person and online, since late 2019. With the success so far of online sportsbooks, iGaming proponents should be able to build support.

According to a study conducted by the Casino Association of Indiana and iDEA Growth, iGaming would bring millions. The study projected potential revenue of $420 million for the state in 2023. That number was based on an 18% tax rate. It also showed that iGaming revenue would steadily increase. By 2027, the revenue was projected to be $611 million.

With eight months before the next session, proponents should have plenty of time to build support. If the Hoosier State has another successful year in sports betting, it should be even easier to turn the tide. If approved, Indiana will join a budding US online gaming market.

Conclusion

Caesars Entertainment and PlayUp have teamed up to offer iGaming services in Indiana. Unfortunately, Indiana lawmakers were unable to pass an iGaming bill this year. If online casinos are legalized next year, PlayUp and Caesars will be ready to launch.

PlayUp is an Australian-based iGaming company that has already started to open up shop in the US. Indiana could be the third state to allow PlayUp online casino games. The company also operates sportsbooks and racebooks online. According to a recent study, legalizing real money online casino games could generate over $400 million in tax revenue.

Indiana’s Hollywood Casino Invests Millions in Remodel

The Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg, Indiana opened its sportsbook in 2019. Now, just three years later, the casino has invested over $2 million to expand its operations. The new expansion opened earlier this week, just in time for the start of March Madness.

Hollywood Casino’s retail sportsbook has been one of the best performing operations in Indiana. However, with surrounding states likely legalizing sports betting soon, the casino had to get ahead of the competition. With the new expansion, Hollywood casino added new casino games and dining options to the already popular sportsbook.

A large portion of Hollywood Casino’s customers come from neighboring states that do not yet allow sports betting. The expansion should allow the casino to make the most of its customer base while it can. It could also make the Hollywood Casino more competitive with Indiana’s online betting options.

Indiana was one of the first states to legalize sports betting. As a result, popular sportsbooks have made a name for themselves in the Hoosier State. Nationwide brands such as FanDuel and DraftKings have already carved out a large share of the Indiana online betting market. Hollywood Casino’s latest retail sportsbook expansion could make them more competitive with online betting options.

What Features Were Added During the Expansion?

Hollywood Casino and Hotel Lawrenceburg opened the doors on its retail sportsbook in 2019. It quickly established itself as one of the best retail sports betting options in the state. To try and stay at the top, Hollywood Casino has invested $2.4 million to expand its sportsbook. According to casino officials, the goal of the expansion was to enhance the player experience.

To do so, the casino brought traditional casino games into the sportsbook. With the expansion, Hollywood Casino added over 50 new slot machines and electronic gaming tables. They also added 20 self-service kiosks and five new blackjack tables. There is also a VIP customer betting window.

To enhance the player experience, Hollywood Casino also expanded the dining area in the retail sportsbook. In total, 50 new seats were added as well as a new menu. The expansion will also add 14 new jobs, bringing the total to roughly 700.

Hollywood Casino also added more televisions to the area, allowing bettors to watch their wagers live. The additional viewing options will come in handy right away. Hollywood Casino’s new sportsbook expansion opened Wednesday, just in time for the start of the NCAA Tournament. March Madness should help the new expansion get off on the right foot.

Why Did Hollywood Casino Remodel Their Sportsbook?

Opened just three years ago, the Barstool Sportsbook at the Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg was not exactly outdated. However, casino officials felt the expansion was necessary to keep up with the growing competition. The sportsbook is facing mounting opposition from both online and out-of-state competitors.

Hollywood Casino has benefitted from residents in neighboring states, such as Ohio, needing to cross state lines to bet on sports. However, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed a bill in December that legalized sports betting in the Buckeye State. As a result, Hollywood Casino and other Indiana sportsbooks could loss many customers from Ohio. For now, Ohio legislators are still working out the regulations for sports betting before the industry can launch.

Kentucky could also legalize sports betting soon, which would further decrease business at Indiana’s casinos. This is not the first time that Indiana’s gaming industry has faced a decline in the wake of other states legalizing gambling. In 2009, Ohio lawmakers approved four cities to begin operating casinos. As a result, Hollywood Casino’s profits were nearly cut in half.

Barstool Sportsbook at Hollywood Casino is the top-performing retail sportsbook in the state. Last year, they generated $15.5 million in sports betting revenue. A decline in business would certainly hurt the sportsbook’s pocketbook. Hollywood Casino is already struggling to compete with the massively popular online betting options in the state.

The Popularity of Online Sports Betting in Indiana

Indiana legalized sports betting in 2019. In October of that year, the first online sportsbooks launched in Indiana. Now, online sports betting operations take the lion’s share of sports wagers in the state. In 2021, the total sports betting handle for the state of Indiana topped $3.8 billion. Over 85% of the state’s sports betting handle was generated by online sportsbooks.

The two biggest players among Indiana’s online sportsbooks are FanDuel and DraftKings. Both sports betting operators offer national brand recognition. Combine, the two sportsbooks totaled $137 million in gross receipts. That is over two-thirds of the total Indiana online sports betting market.

Indiana’s online sports betting industry has been wildly successful. However, according to industry experts, neighboring states could have even more success. John Atkinson has stated that Ohio’s market could be double the size of Indiana’s. Atkinson works as a development director for the UK-Based 888 Holdings. Ohio Proponents of sports betting in Kentucky believe the industry could generate $22 million in tax revenue.

Conclusion

Bettors at the Hollywood Casino & Resort can now take advantage of an expanded Barstool Sportsbook. The Lawrenceburg, IN casino invested over $2 million into the expansion. It opened Wednesday, the same day as the opening games of the NCAA tournament.

As part of the expansion, Hollywood Casino added dozens of new slot machines, electronic games, and poker tables. They also expanded and revamped the dining options available at the sportsbook. The retail sports betting operator also added a new betting window for its VIP players.

Hollywood Casino invested in the remodel to help stave off the competition from both online and retail sportsbooks. With neighboring states, like Kentucky and Ohio, moving toward legalized sports betting, Indiana operators could lose some of their customers. Casino officials hope that the recent renovations will keep customers coming back despite there being more convenient betting options.

Indiana’s retail sportsbooks already face massive competition from online retailers. Online sportsbooks generate more than 80% of the sports betting handle in the Hoosier State. To stay competitive, Hollywood Casino and others will need to continue to find ways to attract and keep customers.

Churchill Downs to Pursue New Location for Terre Haute Casino

Plans for Indiana’s 13th casino are being delayed once again. Churchill Downs, the company now in charge of the project, has requested to move to a new location. The original casino was planned to be built near a sewage treatment facility and the county jail in Terre Haute, IN. Instead, Churchill Downs would like to move the project to the east side of the city.

Churchill Downs was chosen to take over the casino project after allegations of financial and criminal misconduct were brought against the original licensee. Now, the Kentucky-based Churchill Downs must try to salvage the Terre Haute casino plans. For now, it looks like a casino in Western Indiana is still years away. In the meantime, residents will have to make do using Indiana’s best online casinos.

Part of the reason for requesting a new location is to comply with requests from the community. Officials from Churchill Downs have said that community members encouraged moving the project to a new spot. The proposed project will cost an estimated $240 million and will include 125 rooms in the 10-story hotel.

The criticism of the current site started before Churchill Downs was in charge of the project. The casino developer has applied to Vigo County officials to rezone nearly 50-acres of farmland for a new building site. According to an Indiana Gaming Commission official, there should be no legal barriers to changing the project’s location. Officials can review the request at their meetings next month.

Details of the Proposed Terre Haute Casino

Original plans for a casino in Terre Haute involved a partnership between Lucy Luck and Hard Rock International. The planned casino would be a sister property to the Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana. It was projected to cost $125 million.

Unfortunately, plans fell through when the owners of Lucy Luck ran into legal trouble. After the casino developer failed to provide enough financing and an executive team to oversee the project, the IGC voted to not renew their casino license.

The IGC named Churchill Downs as the new operator for the Terre Haute casino project. Churchill downs increased the budget for the casino up to $240 million. Plans include a nearly 400,000 square feet casino building with 56,000 square feet of gaming space. Bettors will have access to 1,000 slot machines and 50 tables to choose from.

A hotel is also part of the proposed plans. The hotel will have 125 rooms across its 10 stories. There will also be a rooftop lounge on top of the building. In total, the casino hotel will create upwards of 500 jobs and both full and part-time positions will be available. Churchill Downs estimates it will generate $190 million annually in economic impact.

Why Churchill Downs Wants to Move to a New Location

The current project site has been criticized by community members since it was announced several years ago. Officials from Churchill Downs have listened to the community members and have applied to move to a new location. The Terre Haute casino project will require a significant investment by Churchill Downs to complete. Building a good relationship with the community will go a long way to making the investment pay off.

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There are several reasons why Terre Haute residents would want the project moved. First and foremost, the current location is near the city’s sewage treatment facility. It is also close to the county jail. Moving the casino to a better location could help improve business down the road.

Churchill Downs has a new location in mind. The casino developer has applied for nearly 50-acres of farmland in the eastern part of the city to be rezoned. If Vigo County officials approve the rezoning, the project could move to the new location.

The idea of building the Terre Haute casino on the east side of town is not a wholly original one. Other developers that had applied for the original project had similar sites in mind. If approved, the proposed location would put the casino hotel in a better location for people traveling along I-70 and Indiana State Road 46.

Next Steps for Terre Haute Casino Project

Churchill Downs has applied for the new location to be rezoned. Vigo County zoning officials are scheduled to meet on March 2nd to review the proposal. Obtaining county approval is just one step of the process. To move forward, they would also need approval from the Indiana Gaming Commission.

According to deputy director Jenny Reske, the Indiana Gaming Commission does not foresee any legal issues preventing the change of location. The state’s gaming commission is scheduled to meet on March 8th and could review the change then.

The gaming commission knew the concerns of the existing location when they approved Churchill Downs to take over the project. If the original project had been completed as planned, the casino would already be open for business. If the county approves the new location, it is unlikely that the gaming commission would hold up the project further.

Conclusion

Plans for a casino in Terre Haute could be taking a step backward. Churchill Downs, the developer now in charge of the project, is attempting to have it moved to a new location. The current plans have the casino being built near the county jail and sewage treatment facility. Churchill Downs would like to move the casino to the eastern side of Terre Haute.

Churchill Downs is based in nearby Kentucky. The casino giant took over the Terre Haute casino project after the original developers were denied their application to renew their casino license. Churchill Downs was chosen by the Indiana Gaming Commission to take over the project.

Now under new management, the proposed Terre Haute casino nearly doubled its project budget. The original plans were estimated to cost $125 million. Now, the casino hotel is estimated to cost $240 million.

If approved, the casino project will be moved to what is not farmland in eastern Terre Haute. The proposed location is similar to other spots selected by developers bidding on the original casino project. It is also closer to the major highways that go through the city, which could increase traffic to the new casino. County and state officials will meet next month to consider the change in location.

Both Indiana Online Gaming Bills Fail to Pass

Despite some optimism from pro-gambling legislators to start the year, Indiana legislators failed to pass two online gambling bills this session. Both HB 1356 and HB 1337 did not garner enough support in Indiana’s legislature to pass. Similar bills have failed to pass in previous years. Despite the success of Indiana’s sports betting operators, lawmakers can not come to an agreement regarding online casino operations.

The bills themselves would have allowed licensed operators to run online gaming options. Many other US states already allow iGaming operators. Proponents of the Indiana iGaming bills have argued that the industry is trending toward online gaming options. With the bills failing to pass, gaming operators are limited to offering only in-person betting options.

There are several reasons why the bills did not pass this session. Ultimately, it seems to have boiled down to a lack of support in a shortened session. This is not the first time that gaming legislation has died on the floor. Sen. Jon Ford has been trying to push gaming bills through since 2020.

Ford and his supporters are still encouraged about the future of their efforts. Pro-gambling legislators have focused on educating other lawmakers about the gaming industry to garner support. Ford is hopeful to have more success next session. With more time to educate others and more time in the session, pro-gambling legislators should have more success.

What Were HB 1356 and HB 1337?

The two Indiana gaming bills in question would have allowed licensed operators in the state to operate online gaming sites. In Indiana, licensed operators are limited to riverboat casinos and racetracks. HB 1356 was authored by Rep. Doug Gutwein, with Rep. Ethan Manning listed as a co-author. Meanwhile, HB 1337 was written by Rep. Alan Morrison.

Despite having different authors, the two bills share a lot of common features. Both bills would have allowed riverboat casinos and racetracks to have iGaming operations. They also would have imposed an adjusted gross receipts tax on iGaming operations of 18%.

There were also some key differences between the two bills. Namely, HB 1337 would have repealed several statutes currently in place. For instance, HB 1337 would have repealed the following:

  • Language concerning specific circumstances that result in supplemental payment to Hammond, Michigan City, and East Chicago
  • The existing historic hotel distance community fee
  • The requirement that Vigo County riverboat operators make payments to the city of Evansville

Sen. Jon Ford has proposed similar gaming bills in the past. Ford’s proposed bills in 2020 and 2021 also failed to garner enough support from other legislatures. The House Bills did not pass this session. However, iGaming proponents could have another chance in the senate this April.

Why did Indiana’s Online Casino Bills Fail?

To pass in the senate, the iGaming legislation would have to address the issues that stopped the House Bills from passing. There are several contributing factors that led to the downfalls of HB 1356 and HB 1337. Perhaps the biggest reason the bills did not pass is that the timing was just not right.

In Indiana, the legislative sessions run shorter on even years. As a result, it is typically very difficult to pass new laws in even years. Another factor working against the iGaming bills was that it is an election year. Also, Indiana is projected to have $5 billion in excess revenue. Legislators were not pressured by financial motives to pass the bills.

The iGaming bills failing to pass is disheartening for many proponents in the state. However, the Senate has a chance to pass their bill later this year. If the Senate also fails to pass an iGaming bill, the next legislative session could present a better chance for iGaming bills.

A 2023 session would not be in an election year. It would also be a longer session since it is an odd year. It will also give legislators who are pursuing the bills more time to prepare for the next round of voting.

What Will Gaming Proponents do Now?

Indiana legislators hoping for new iGaming laws will now turn their attention to the Senate. Sen. Jon Ford introduced a bill last month, SB 417, that would authorize iGaming. Under Ford’s bill, all 14 of the licensed casinos and racetracks in Indiana could apply for an interactive gaming license.

Ford’s bill is similar to the house bills in that it includes an 18% tax on gross receipts from interactive gaming. The senator’s bill also includes provisions such as:

  • $500,000 initial interactive gaming license application fee. $50,000 annual renewal fee.
  • Licensed casinos can partner with up to 3 online brands
  • Online brand partners have an initial licensing fee of $100,000. $25,000 annual renewal fee.
  • 3% of gaming revenue tax is for local governments
  • 33% tax revenue collected by the state goes toward the Addiction Services Fund
The current SB 417 bill also includes the allowance of online poker. Ford previously drafted a bill that did not allow online poker for fears it would have more opposition for other legislators.

Outside of SB 417, there are other things that proponents can focus on. The biggest of which is educating other lawmakers about the positives of online gaming. Indiana legislators have worked with the Casino Association of Indiana, iDEA Growth, and UNLV to help sway lawmakers to vote for an online casino bill.

Conclusion

Hopes of a new online casino bill in Indiana are off to a rocky start. The Indiana legislature failed to pass HB 1356 and HB 1337. Lawmakers in Indiana have struggled to craft an iGaming bill for several years, so the defeat is not unexpected. Other factors, such as the length of the session and the pending elections later this year, also likely contributed to the bills not passing.

Now, iGaming proponents will turn their efforts toward the senate. Sen. Jon Ford introduced SB 417. Ford’s bill would allow all 14 of Indiana’s casinos and racetracks to apply for online casino licenses. Ford has expressed optimism about the success of the bill. The state senator has worked for months to craft the bill. Ford even ran the bull by several other Indiana lawmakers to address any potential roadblocks before it was introduced.

Ford and his supporters are hoping they can pass an iGaming bill by the time the session ends in April. In the meantime, proponents of online gambling will continue to work with other agencies to build support for their cause. Ford and other lawmakers have brought in the Casino Association of Indiana and even UNLV, among others, to help build support.

Voters Scheduled to Decide on New Casino in Terre Haute

Lawmakers in Indiana have been taking a closer look at the state’s current casino regulations. This week, voters in the state will decide on whether or not to allow a new casino in Terre Haute. Gambling fans here maintain that a casino will help to generate more revenue for the state and bring additional jobs to Terre Haute.

Terre Haute Indiana City Hall

It’s an exciting time in the state. Voters here are also deciding on who will fill dozens of mayoral offices throughout Indiana. Let’s look at everything that’s going on here.

Indiana Has Been Looking at Casino Expansion for Months

Officials in Indiana have been interested in opening new casinos for almost all of 2019. Back in February, lawmakers here first approved a bill to expand the state’s gambling industry. Senate Bill 552 quickly moved through the state’s legislative process with support from many residents and politicians.

Under this bill, a casino license can be granted in Terre Haute. Several companies have already expressed interest in opening a gambling venue here. Before this can happen, however, voters here will need to officially approve these plans.

Vigo County voters will decide whether or not to allow construction on a new casino in Terre Haute. If approved, this will become the 14th casino to open in the state of Indiana.

As we’ve already mentioned, two companies have expressed an interest in opening a casino here. Both companies are pledging to invest millions of dollars into this area.

It seems likely that these plans will be approved.

Pros and Cons of a New Casino in Terre Haute

A huge number of individuals have been actively promoting this new casino. Even state officials have been praising the benefits that this gambling will offer. Duke Bennett, mayor of Terre Haute, has been fighting hard for this casino to get approved.

“It’s always been about the economic development opportunity for me,” he said. “I did all I could to help bring that opportunity to the community… One of the most important parts of [the legislation] for me was the referendum language. We fought to keep that in there because I’ve felt it extremely important that the people of Vigo County decide whether they wanted a casino or not.”

According to Bennet, this new casino will help to bring more revenue to the state, add more jobs in Terre Haute, and bring in more tourism.

“When you look at the economic impact of not only the construction but also the jobs it will create and the revenue it will create for the city, we’re talking about near $10 million,” Bennett said. 

Of course, some residents here are concerned about the negative impact that a casino could have. Some believe it will lead to a rise in crime and gambling addiction.

We’ll need to wait and see how Vigo County voters decide on the new casino in Terre Haute.

Online Casino Gambling is Growing More Popular in Indiana

Indiana is home to many fantastic land-based gambling venues. Soon, even more of these establishments could open up. Unsurprisingly, more and more individuals here choosing to make their bets online.

There are a huge number of fantastic online casinos in IN right now. Most of them offer even more gambling options than the top land-based casino venues in the country. You can find many different table games and slots available online right now.

Most of these sites are extremely safe, as well. Word spreads fast in the online gambling market. Any sites caught doing anything shady are quickly blacklisted.

Online casinos remain unregulated in Indiana. Many believe that in time, the state government will begin to regulate and tax these sites. Doing so would likely earn the government millions in additional revenue every single month.

Very soon, we’ll know whether or not the new casino in Terre Haute will be approved. Stay tuned for more updates this week!

These States Likely to Propose Sports Betting Legislation

The news about sports betting being legalized all over the US is being spread all around the world. Some states have acted immediately after the federal ban was lifted and introduced this type of gambling activity to their casinos.

However, other states recognize the potential of sports betting, and many of them are working hard to make this activity available for their sports betting aficionados. Let’s take a look at some of the states that are most likely to introduce this activity next.

Washington DC

The capital of the USA will soon make it possible to bet on the Capitals and the Nationals, and the Redskins and the Wizards as well. As a matter of fact, sports betting is likely to be completely legalized in this state by September 1.

They are currently having trouble sorting out who the sports betting provider would be, as Intralot—the provider initially selected—is already the lottery provider for this state. The regular voting process was bypassed, and Intralot was awarded a license that is now under a 60-day review.

IowaSports Betting

A bill to legalize sports betting was introduced recently in Iowa, and it seems that the residents of this state will have an opportunity to place bets on sports very soon as the bill has been gaining a lot of momentum.

A total of 19 casinos, as well as some other gambling-related facilities such as horse tracks, would be able to open sportsbooks sections. They will be able to create online apps, but people who want to bet on sports would have to be physically present at the betting site to register for an app and place bets via their mobile devices.

Indiana

Indiana is very close to legalizing sports betting as Senate Bill 522 has passed through the first Senate committee. This bill is filled with various changes that are related to the gaming laws that exist in this state. Apart from allowing sports betting activities in Indiana, this bill also proposes the construction of two casinos and relocating the existing ones. The bill was created as a response to declining revenues in the gambling industry in this state. In other words, the officials of Indiana want to improve gaming in their state as they fear people might lose interest over time.

Kentucky

The state of Kentucky has proposed a betting bill that will not only allow sports betting, but also pave the way for online poker and even fantasy sports. The racetracks in Kentucky that want to obtain sports betting fees would have to pay $500,000 to obtain a license and then pay a $50,000 annual renewal. The bill allows using apps for betting, but only if you are on site. According to some estimates, sports betting would bring up to $48 million annually for the budget of this state.

Minnesota

Minnesota is still in the process of consideration when it comes to a sports betting bill. They have an act called the Safe and Regulated Sports Gambling Act of 2019,  and its one goal is to establish the so-called “sports pools.”

Just like in Mississippi, this bill would allow sports betting at 18 tribal casinos. However, the 11 federally recognized tribes must play their part, which means that the success of this deal depends heavily on them. If they reach an agreement, there will be plenty of room to explore all the possible option and eventually introduce sports betting to Minnesota.