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Sports Betting Bill Passes House in Indiana, But without Online and Mobile

Publish: 23.04.2019

Indiana has made a crucial step towards legalizing wagering on sports in the state after the latest proposal received the support of the Indiana House of Representatives.

Approved by a vote of 78-15, the new piece of legislation now needs to be signed by Governor Eric Holcomb.

However, No Online or Mobile at the Moment

Under the provisions of this proposal, known as Senate Bill 552, in-person sports betting will be allowed at casinos, racetracks and OTBs. At this moment, no online or mobile betting will be allowed in Indiana.

The new bill has also decreased the license fee for operators from $100,000 to $10,000. Those doing business in the Hoosier State will have to pay a 9.5% tax on revenue, with an additional 3.3% of revenue being allocated to problem gambling.

Sports betting in Indiana is scheduled to be launched on September 1, 2019.

At this moment, there is a total of 14 casinos who have been operating on land since 2015, but who began their operations as riverboat venues back in 1993. The new proposal would also bring live table games to racinos in Indiana, while Majestic Star I and Majestic Star II, the two floating casinos, would be relocated out of Buffington Harbor. They would be moved out of Lake Michigan, with one relocating inland, probably to another part of Gary, and the other to the city of Terre Haute.

One of the sponsors of this bill, Senator Mar Messmer said the state’s gaming market decline over the years had been his impetus to look at a comprehensive bill that could help revitalize Indiana’s gaming industry and have a positive impact on the budget.

Mobile is an Important Issue

And although many were unhappy that online betting wasn’t included in the bill, it seems that such a solution was the only way to get the necessary support.

Republican Alan Morrison said he believed the bill was missing a major component. He explained that when the legislators took the proposal back over to the Senate, they needed to look at how the mobile could get back over to the Senate.

Morrison pointed out that the mobile language had the potential to make sports wagering a very worthwhile endeavour for the state.

Matt Bell, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Casino Association of Indiana stated that on a global level, it was estimated sports betting was about a $104.3 billion enterprise, with 60% to 70 of that being mobile.

He also added that at if there had been integrity problems that had ensued, people would read about them all over the place.

Bell believes that operators had a profound interest in making sure that any data used was accurate and reliable. According to him, operators don’t sit people in garages and call them to ask them what the score was, and pointed out that the Indiana Gaming Commission would regulate this activity.

He stressed that Indiana could consider the model used in Nevada, where the statute had left a lot of the work of defining and regulating mobile to the regulator.

A number of states, including New Jersey and Delaware, have made sports betting legal since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned PASPA back in May last year.