Indiana Online Gambling Bill Filed
It didn’t take long before we received our first surprise gaming bill of 2021. On Tuesday, Inside Indiana Business reported that a bill to legalize online gambling has been filed in the State Senate. If passed, online casino gambling and online poker will be legal in the state.
The bill comes as the state set a new monthly record for sports betting. Whether the bill has a legitimate chance to pass remains to be seen. We will give our take on the future of this bill.
SB 417 Filed in Indiana
On Tuesday, news broke of a new online gambling bill in the Hoosier State. SB 417 was filed by State Senator Jon Ford of Terre Haute. The bill seeks to legalize both online poker and online casino gambling in the state.
Details of the bill were not made immediately known and we were unable to find a copy of the bill online. However, from news reports, we know that the bill will authorize the 14 casinos and racinos in Indiana to offer online poker and online casino gambling.
Presently, New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania have launched both online casino gambling and online poker. Nevada presently offers online poker. West Virginia only offers online casinos. Michigan has legalized both activities but has yet to launch.
Indiana Coming Off Record-Setting Sports Betting Month
Interestingly enough, the filing of SB 417 comes just as the Indiana Gaming Commission announced that December set a new record for sports betting revenue. The state brought in $313 million in wagers in December as opposed to the previous record of $251 million for November.
A lot of things fell into place for the state in December. The start of college basketball season along with the home stretches of both college football and the NFL helped to boost revenues. Notre Dame made the Playoffs, which further boosted wagering.
According to Gambling.com VP of US Business Max Bichsel, mobile betting was the key to success for sports betting in 2020. He expects mobile sports betting to grow even further in 2021, with over 90% of all betting occurring via mobile.
For the year, the state collected $13.2 million in taxes. This figure could skyrocket should online casino gambling and online poker become legal in the state. Senator Ford believes that online gambling can bring between $65 and $80 million in additional tax revenue for the state. As has been proven in states like New Jersey, online gambling brings consistent revenue and is a market that can withstand uncertain times, such as the current pandemic.
What’s Next for SB 417
The big question now is whether SB 417 has a legitimate shot of passing. Sen. Ford is hoping to get a hearing for the bill sometime this month from the Senate Public Policy Committee, the first step on the long road to passage. We have still yet to hear of a House version of the bill.
The success of sports betting may be enough to convince Indiana lawmakers to move forward with online gambling. Michigan will soon launch its online gambling sites, putting pressure on Indiana to follow suit.
Something else that could help spur lawmakers is an expected verdict regarding the Federal Wire Act appeal. If the Appeals Court upholds the lower court ruling, there will be little in the way of federal policy stopping lawmakers.
It is too early to get a true gauge on where this bill is going, but we aren’t hearing the type of buzz we normally hear when a state is ready to legalize iGaming. As such, we may not see much in the way of movement for this bill in 2021.