Indiana regulators are apparently ready to embrace gambling wherever possible. Following in the footsteps of New Jersey, which authorized the activity last year, the Hoosier State is going to allow gamblers to place wagers on the 92nd Academy Awards coming up next month. The move makes Indiana only the second state, so far, to allow bets on the Oscars, but the decision isn’t too surprising.
The Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) made the decision to allow Oscars gambling as it looks to capitalize on another event that is guaranteed to see a lot of action next month – Super Bowl LIV. The Academy Awards will be held on February 9, a week after the NFL’s championship game, and gamblers are going to be in the mood to continue to place their bets.
It didn’t take much for the IGC to greenlight the activity. Lawmakers gave it the ability through legislation when the state legalized sports gambling last year, and the IGC’s Sara Gonso Tait told Casino.org, “We conducted a review and determined that the request meets the requirements of statute and IGC standards and approved the requests,” adding, ”Should circumstances arise that undermine the integrity of certain activities, it is within the IGC’s discretion to change course based upon new information. Our website has been updated to reflect this approval.”
As the only state to allow Academy Awards wagers last year, New Jersey’s sportsbooks saw $747,696 come in on Oscars bets. Of that, $565,179 went back out the sportsbooks’ door to cover gamblers’ winnings. This year, the numbers could be even higher.
Indiana sportsbooks will be able to offer odds on Oscars categories, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress and others. So far, since the announcement was just released, the books have not all gotten onboard, but DraftKings didn’t waste any time – it has 24 different betting categories. It has all the categories listed with odds, and others are sure to follow. For Best Picture, among other entries, 1917 is given -200 odds, Joker sits at +1200 and Ford v. Ferrari is the definite longshot at +20000.
Coincidentally, the one state most often associated with gambling doesn’t allow wagers on the Oscars. Nevada, home to Las Vegas, limits its non-casino gaming to only sports gambling and has never allowed wagers to be placed on anything other than casino games and sports. It will be interesting to see if regulators have a change of heart as gambling expansion continues across the U.S.