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Casinos: Las Vegas won't hurt from sports betting decision

A man watches a baseball game in the sports book at the South Point hotel-casino, Monday, May 14, 2018, in Las Vegas. The Supreme Court on Monday gave its go-ahead for states to allow gambling on sports across the nation, striking down a federal law that barred betting on football, basketball, baseball and other sports in most states.

John Locher, Associated Press

Monday's U.S. Supreme Court ruling freeing states to permit gambling on professional and amateur sports pleased casino operators and prompted state legislators to establish a study committee to explore the issue this summer.

Casino Association of Indiana President and CEO Matt Bell said its members, including Horseshoe, Ameristar and Majestic Star in Northwest Indiana, applauded the ruling in Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association.

“The decision creates an opportunity for Indiana to create a regulated and transparent market that allows Hoosiers to legally participate in sports wagering," Bell said. He said the association will work with legislators to create that framework, noting two bills that would have allowed sports betting were filed in this year's legislative session.

"We are very hopeful that policy makers will renew that debate when the legislature convenes in January," Bell said.

House Speaker Brian Bosma said Tuesday that the study committee will lay the necessary groundwork for consideration next year.

"We need to understand the impact on our state, including the existing gaming industry, and be prepared for discussion next session," Bosma said.

He added that the Indianapolis-based NCAA, which has been a staunch opponent of legal sports betting, will likely play an "impactful role" during the discussion.

The collegiate athletic association issued a cautious statement after the court ruling was announced.

"While we are still reviewing the decision to understand the overall implications to college sports, we will adjust sports wagering and championship policies to align with the direction from the court," NCAA chief legal officer Donald Remy said in the Monday statement.

Caesars Entertainment Corp., owner of Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, has a sports wagering business in Nevada, and said it would expand it "wherever secure and responsible wagering on sporting events is legalized."

The company's president and CEO, Mark Frissora, said the Supreme Court's ruling overturning the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act "creates a golden opportunity to end illegal sports wagering."

"We plan to announce our specific approach to this business as we better understand the opportunities and regulations which evolve from (Monday's) Supreme Court decision," he said.

Keith Smith, CEO of Boyd Gaming, owner of Blue Chip in Michigan City, told CNBC in an April 27 interview that his company's experience operating a sports book in Nevada will help it move quickly into the business elsewhere.

"We have great experience and are fully prepared to take advantage of it as it roles out across the U.S.," he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Transportation reporter

Andrew covers transportation, real estate, casinos and other topics for The Times business section. A Crown Point native, he joined The Times in 2014, and has more than 15 years experience as a reporter and editor at Region newspapers.