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Robin Lawson, of Cicero, goes over his pro football sheet as he was one of the first patrons to place a bet at the sports betting area that opened last month at Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing & Casino.

INDIANAPOLIS—Sports betting in Indiana officially expanded Thursday to mobile devices, allowing gamblers to wager on their favorite teams on their cells phones.

The Indiana Gaming Commission put rules in place that allow casinos running sports bookmaking operations to accept wagers via mobile devices.

The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for states like Indiana to allow betting on college and professional sports when, in May 2018, it struck down a 1992 law that had barred sports wagering in most states. After that ruling, individual states began legalizing betting on sports.

Indiana legalized sports wagering in the 2019 legislative session and Gov. Eric Holcomb signed House Enrolled Act 1015 into law in May. Thirteen casinos began to operate their own sports books on or after Sept. 1. Now, Hoosiers can bet on the Fighting Irish at Notre Dame or the Indianapolis Colts on their phones and desktops as mobile betting apps are becoming more widely available.

Mobile betting operations will be run through apps that are linked to Indiana’s casinos. Currently, only two are active—DraftKings Sportsbook licensed with Ameristar East Chicago and BetRivers licensed by French Lick Casino.

Indiana is currently the only state in the region to have a mobile sports betting operation. Dustin Gouker, the lead analyst for PlayIndiana.com, said that while Illinois has legalized sports wagering, there are no mobile options. Michigan, Kentucky and Ohio are exploring betting options.

PlayIndiana.com, in a news release, said Thursday that Indiana could generate substantial profits if neighboring states don’t expand their sports betting options.

“The state’s best-case scenario is to generate nearly $400 million in annual revenue from a handle of close to $6 billion if neighboring states such as Ohio and Kentucky do not legalize sports betting,” PlayIndiana.com reported.

But the Indiana Gaming Commission is more cautious, citing a study by Eilers and Krejcik Gaming which estimated that with mobile wagering, the state could see $256.1 million in revenue by year five of all wagering on sports.

Gouker said many bets, whether made at casinos or on mobile devices, will be placed on National Football League teams.

“Football is number one in the United States in terms of how much is bet,” he said.

Jennifer Roberts, associate director at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas’s International Gaming Institute, has seen how sports betting has worked in her state.

“When you look at what happened in Nevada for the several decades we’ve had sports betting,” Roberts said. “It’s always been an amenity to other forms of betting.”

She said that sports betting in Nevada is not as profitable as other forms of gambling, like blackjack or roulette, because it is a low margin way of betting, which means that although it brings in a lot of money, it also pays out a lot to people who bet.

Brandon Barger is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalists.

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