Gov. Holcomb Focused On Land-Based Growth Over Online Casinos

Following a remarkable 2019, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb is not rushing to overhaul the gaming industry in his state. The three gambling projects he currently has in focus are seen as the completion of the existing landscape.

In a discussion with the Northwest Indiana Times, Holcomb voiced his satisfaction with the expansion of gaming in the state. He also provided a detailed description of his aspirations for the state for this year.

Governor Holcomb is not rushing for additional changes.

Holcomb, akin to individuals in comparable roles in other states, made one of the first legal bets on Sept. 1, 2019. The governor has consistently lauded the sports betting industry since then.

“Without a doubt, we took a step in the right direction with what we did,” said Holcomb. “Just like any other industry, consumers in this one also seek convenience. When talking about Indiana, I take pride in mentioning it as a place of continuity, certainty, and convenience.”

Holcomb admitted that he hasn’t placed a bet since his $10 futures wager on the Indianapolis Colts to win Super Bowl LIV. However, he is not hesitant to gamble on the early success of his state becoming sustainable.

“Judging by the statistics and feedback from industry insiders and regular participants – those who bet more frequently than I do since I last did on the first day it was possible – it seems that people are content with our current situation,” said Holcomb.

It’s difficult not to appreciate the current state of sports betting in Indiana. While the figures for the last month of 2019 are still being calculated, Indiana sportsbooks managed to garner close to $300 million in handle from September to November 2019.

The fact that online betting was only introduced in the state on October 3 makes it particularly impressive. The state’s number of mobile books, four, remains relatively low compared to other markets.

However, that number should rapidly increase. Numerous other operators from Indiana are planning to launch by Super Bowl Sunday.

Holcomb’s words imply that no more significant changes are expected, suggesting that growth in 2020 will primarily come from existing channels.

What to Expect and What Not to Expect in Indiana in 2020

This year, Holcomb’s “wish list” for the gambling industry in his state consists of the following:

  • The Majestic Star I riverboat casino has been successfully relocated to its inland location in Gary.
  • The same as above, but with the Majestic Star II relocated to Terre Haute.
  • Four Winds South Bend Gaming Expansion

The first two items symbolize the implementation of a law from 2015 that permitted riverboat casinos to shift inland. The two casinos will not only reposition but also rebrand, reinstating the Hard Rock name in Indiana.

Currently, the Four Winds, the sole tribal casino in the Hoosier State, only provides bingo games. However, Holcomb desires to see the facility equipped with all the services that its commercial rivals offer.

Online casinos won’t be included in Indiana anytime soon. There’s currently no significant demand for them in the state, and Holcomb wants to take more time to understand the full effects of the existing legal structure.

Online poker and slots may eventually be available in the Hoosier State, but not in 2020. The prevalent sentiment in the state, as represented by Holcomb, is contentment with the existing circumstances.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling, a 2013 University of Iowa graduate, serves as the lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He specializes in covering the intersection of sports with business and law.

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