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Indiana casinos ready for start of sports wagering

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Three casinos are set with celebrations Sunday that will mark Indiana becoming the 12th state allowing sports betting.

Casinos near Indianapolis, Chicago and Cincinnati plan on taking their first sports wagers on the day a new state law adopted this spring takes effect.

Gov. Eric Holcomb’s office says he’ll place the inaugural bet at Indiana Grand casino near Shelbyville. Former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka is expected for the festivities at the Ameristar Casino in East Chicago, while the Hollywood casino in Lawrenceburg is also opening its on-site sportsbook.

Most of Indiana’s 13 state-regulated casinos and all three off-track betting parlors plan on offering sports betting by the end of September. They are looking for a boost in attracting gamblers from all neighboring states where such wagers aren’t yet allowed.

The Indiana Gaming Commission has approved the Horseshoe Hammond casino to start taking wagers on Wednesday, a day before the NFL’s season-opening game. The French Lick Resort has approval for opening its sportsbook on Friday.

Gaming Commission Executive Director Sara Tait said opening dates announced at other sites still need final regulatory authorization.

“This is an operator-driven process,” she said. “I think the other proposals will soon follow.”

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.

The casinos are still working to launch mobile betting apps in Indiana, perhaps sometime this fall. Tait said state regulations approved last week lay out what steps must be completed.

“The operator focus is on retail right now,” she said. “But we are in a very good position to do a quick pivot to mobile.”