It appears the Seminole Tribe’s casino sportsbook, Hard Rock, is coming to the Hoosier State in 2022.
The Indiana Gaming Commission granted Seminole Hard Rock Digital a temporary sports betting vendor license Jan. 12. It’s the opening step in a process that would allow Hard Rock Digital to offer retail and mobile sports betting through Gary’s Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana.
If Hard Rock is the next Indiana sportsbook to launch, it will become the 14th mobile operator in the state. Hard Rock would join Caesars Sportsbook Indiana, PointsBet Indiana, BetRivers Indiana, Unibet Indiana, TwinSpires Indiana and WynnBET Indiana, among others, that have already received approval to offer mobile wagering in the state.
The addition of Hard Rock gives the Indiana sports betting landscape further fuel after it generated around $3.8 billion in handle during 2021 — including a record $463.7 million in handle during November.
Hard Rock International has operated the Gary casino since it opened in May 2021, but in August assumed a controlling ownership stake.
It has been 18 months since Indiana’s sports betting marketplace launched, with wagering allowed at one of the state’s casinos or “racinos” — casinos located on racetrack property.
It looks like 2022 could be another big year for state bettors, with a pair of bills making their way through the Indiana House that would legalize online casino gaming.
Of the two bills (H.B. 1337 and 1356), the latter appears to have the most industry support. A recent study from the iDevelopment and Economic Association said HB 1356 has the potential to generate more than $500 million in new tax revenue over the next five years.
House Bill 1356 would clear the way for iGaming to begin — starting in July for licensed riverboat casino owners, as well as for operating agents of a riverboat casino in a historic hotel district and permit holders at racetracks in the state.
John Pappas, who serves as iDEA’s State Advocacy Director, is on board with H.B. 1356, saying in an association press release the bill has the best potential for the state.
“Indiana already has the experience and infrastructure in place through online sports betting to support iGaming,” Pappas said. “Without even realizing it, Indiana consumers are using illegal online gaming sites that provide no consumer protections and zero state tax revenue. The state’s lawmakers can meet consumer demand by establishing a legal, competitive market that benefits the state economy and protects online players with regulatory safeguards.”
Another Indiana sports betting development this month involved the sports Hoosiers can wager on in the new year.
The IGC added alpine skiing, bobsled, cross-country skiing, curling, ice hockey, short track speed skating and speed skating — all of which will be on display during the 2022 Winter Olympics, which kick off Feb. 3 in Beijing.
The commission previously approved 25 Summer Olympic events on its wagering list, ranging from badminton to wrestling.