By RACHAEL KRAUSE | WAVE 3 News
Sports betting is drawing in new fans to casinos and gaming centers around Indiana.
And soon, there will be an even bigger improvement to gaming around southern Indiana as Horseshoe Casino prepares to bring gambling ashore, retiring its riverboat for a land-based casino.
The launch of The Book, the start of a new chapter at Horseshoe, letting gamblers play by watching the athletes play, betting on the big screens.
“Green Bay over Minnesota,” said football legend and Louisville native Paul Hornung. Hornung was at Horseshoe Casino on Thursday to place the inaugural bet at Horseshoe’s new sportsbook.
“Went with Louisville to cover this weekend,” said Chase Dailey, who placed the second bet at the Book.
Riverboat gambling will soon come ashore as work on the new land-based casino nears completion.
“We’ll be here in this location for the next 90 days or so, then we’ll move across the street,” said Brad Seigel, general manager at Horseshoe Casino.
When the new Caesar’s land-based casino opens in December, a large part of the casino floor will become The Book, where you can place those sports bets.
“We’re moving in three months so, we kind of get the ball rolling, get everything on here,” said Jimmy Allen, sportsbook and poker manager for Horseshoe Casino. “When we move over there, it’s going to be a Cadillac over there, it’s going to be huge. We’re really excited.”
Crews carefully construct the new gaming floor, just a few feet from the current facility. They’ll soon install carpet and tiling, putting the final touches on walls and ceilings. When it’s done, it will be 100,000 square feet of continuous gambling space.
“It’ll really feel like a Vegas-style experience,” Seigel said.
For the new big draw, legal sports betting, there will be an even bigger space than the one unveiled Thursday to open at Caesar’s with 60-foot TVs and state-of-the-art facilities to gamble on the big game.
“I’ve got some friends that might be interested to come down, spend a few nights now that the sportsbook is open, so we’re looking forward to it,” Dailey said.
The casino brings in millions of dollars to southern Indiana’s economy each year, a number expected to grow as more gamblers come across the Ohio River to put money down on big games and small ones.
“Darts,” Allen said, laughing. “We’ll have odds for darts. Who knew?”
As gambling interests grow around the U.S., people here are ready to see Caesar’s casino become an anchored part of their community.
“I’ve been waiting for this for a very long time,” Allen said.