CLARKSVILLE, Indiana —
A new state law is making sports betting legal in Indiana, and Winner's Circle off-track betting shop in Clarksville is ready.
"I said I'd be here six days a week, now I'll be here seven," Tony Shepard, a patron at Winner's Circle, said.
The televisions at Winner's Circle were all tuned to horse races Wednesday afternoon, but starting September 12, the space will transform into a sports lounge and will give people like Shepard a chance to wager money on more than just the ponies.
"Basketball, football, hockey, Tiger Woods, golf, it don't make no difference," he said.
Kyle Waggoner, the vice president of hospitality for Indiana Grand Racing, said the space will be renovated with new furniture and table games like foosball to give the space more of a sports lounge feel. Waggoner said he expects expanding to sports betting will also help Winner's Circle and other off-track betting parlors as they struggle to attract new fans of horse racing.
"We've got a great opportunity here with the passing of sports betting that will allow us to offer something new to our guests," he said. "We anticipate an increase in business by a really significant amount."
"You don't have a lot of horseracing fans, but now when you've got this football betting coming and basketball betting coming, man, this place will be packed," Shepard said. "I'm telling you, it will be packed."
With Clarksville just across the river from Kentucky, where sports betting is still illegal, Waggoner expects many people will be crossing the Ohio River once the sportsbook opens, helping not only Winner's Circle but Clarksville and Southern Indiana as a whole.
"Having these folks come over to our place and see what we have to offer is not only going to do great things for our business but also show what we have to offer in Southern Indiana and Clarksville," he said.
The new law also allows for mobile betting, but Waggoner said the technology is still in the works and he does not have a timeline as to when mobile betting will be introduced at Winner's Circle.
"When a whole lot of people start hearing about it, we'll be just like Vegas," Shepard said.
Horseshoe Southern Indiana is also opening its sports betting operation on September 12 on the casino's riverboat. The plan is to move it to the new building once it's completed.
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