Caesars, WynnBET Seek Growth in Indiana Sports Betting Via Colts Deals

The Indianapolis Colts doubled down on its sports betting presence this week. On Thursday, Indiana’s NFL team announced a partnership with Caesars Entertainment, and a day later, it inked another one with WynnBET.

Indy Colts partnerships
Indy Colts partnerships
Indianapolis Colts fans check out the new Caesars Sportsbook Lounge at Lucas Oil Stadium, the home for the NFL. This past week, the Colts announced multi-year partnership agreements with both Caesars Entertainment and WynnBET. (Image: Caesars Entertainment/Twitter)

The deals themselves are not identical. In the deal with Caesars, the Las Vegas-based gaming giant also becomes the team’s only “official casino partner” and gets naming rights for one of the entry gates and lounge at Lucas Oil Stadium, the team’s home field.

The multi-year deal also expands upon previous relationships the Colts have had with Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing & Casino and Indiana Grand Racing & Casino. The Caesars properties are the two closest gaming venues to Indianapolis.

Roger VanDerSnick, the team’s chief sales and marketing officer, said in a joint release between the parties, that the new arrangement with Caesars “expands our ability to offer Colts fans a truly unique experience” either at the stadium or elsewhere.

Another aspect of the deal is a free-to-play game sponsored by Caesars Sportsbook. A weekly “Pick 6” predictor game will offer weekly prizes to contestants. All entrants will also be eligible for the grand prize – a trip to a Caesars resort in Vegas.

“Indiana has been a special place for our company, and we know how passionate these great sports fans are for their home team,” Caesars Digital Co-President Chris Holden said in a statement. “Caesars will continue to push for innovation to bring the best in sports experiences, both in-person and on mobile, to the Hoosier State through Caesars Sportsbook and our partnership with the NFL.”

Win-Win for Wynn and the Colts

WynnBET, Wynn Resorts’ online gaming arm, got naming rights to Touchdown Town, the official pre-game tailgate area in its deal. It also received branding rights for a sports bar located in the upstairs club section of the 70,000-seat stadium.

But it does get more, with a particular focus on the team’s broadcasts and other media resources. The sports betting app will be featured on the pregame, in-game, and postgame radio network broadcasts, and WynnBET will also be sponsors for the Colts official team podcast and its mobile app.

We also look forward to WynnBET’s presence in our television shows, podcasts and other digital and social platforms, which will allow us to touch even more fans, on gameday or otherwise,” VanDerSnick said in the statement announcing the agreement.

The Wynn and Caesars deals come after the Colts had a one-year deal with PointsBet last season.

Deals Raise Brand Awareness for Caesars and WynnBET

For Wynn and Caesars, their partnerships with the Colts is all about exposure. Not just to the 70,000 fans that go to games, either. The Colts radio network presents marketing opportunities to all corners of Indiana.

And the companies are banking on that exposure to help them build their market share in one of the top sports betting states in the country.

It may seem a bit odd for Caesars, the state’s dominant casino operator. The two Indy-area racinos and Horseshoe Hammond rank in the top four each month in adjusted gross gaming revenues. Yet, that has not really translated into much sports betting success, especially online. Caesars did acquire William Hill, which it has since rebranded under its own name, but as the state’s No. 4 sportsbook, it’s still not generating the handle or revenues as the Big Three (DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM).

In August, those three accounted for $153 million of the $213.3 million in handle, according to Indiana Gaming Commission data. That equates to nearly 72 percent of the market share.

William Hill generated $16.9 million in wagers, about $9.3 million less than third-ranked BetMGM. But BetMGM reported $2.5 million in revenues (a hold of 9.6 percent), compared to $977,286 for Caesars (5.8 percent hold).

Wynn, meanwhile, finds itself battling to make a name is a crowded marketplace. Indiana has 12 licensed sports betting apps, and Wynn’s handle $777,706 was third-lowest. Even with more sportsbooks looking to launch in Indiana, the Colts relationship could help it ascend to the mid-level tier of sportsbooks. That’s currently occupied with PointsBet, Barstool, and BetRivers.

Those three operators had handles ranging from $5.8 million to $8.6 million in August.

WynnBET isn’t just looking to grow in Indiana. As the NFL season kicked off earlier this month, it also launched a new ad campaign. Ben Affleck directed and stars in the spots, which also feature basketball star Shaquille O’Neal.

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