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Indiana's Gambling Bill Passed The Senate

April 15, 2019

It's official. Residents living in the state of Indiana will now be able to legally wager on sports through registered sports books and online sites. 

With the lifting by the US Supreme Court of the federal ban on sports gambling, a number of states immediately went to work trying to craft legislation that would give its residents the ability to wager on sports event. Indiana was among those states. Prior to the announcement the Indiana Senate had approved Senate Bill 552, eleven other states had already put laws in place, supporting sports and online sports gambling for its residents. Indiana expects to become number 12 after Governor Eric Holcolm signs the new bill into law, a move he expects to do any day now.

While the bills addresses many facets of gambling within the state's borders, the primary focus of the bill is sports gambling. Under provisions in the law, state casinos, horse tracks with slot machines and off-track betting parlors will be authorized to provide sports gambling. Each operator seeking the authorization to do so must pay a licensing fee of $100,000. There will likely be a provision for the payment of taxes on sports gambling revenues, but that aspect of the new law is being referred to the House, which has responsibility for revenue-raising measures. Tentatively, the tax-rate being bandied about sits at somewhere around 10%, 

Residents will be allowed to gamble on sports events all over the world. That includes professional sports and sports leagues as well as college sports in the US. Gamblers will not be permitted to wager on high schools sports or amateur youth sports. Gamblers will be allowed to open gambling accounts in person at an authorized location. After deposits have been verified, gamblers will be able to place their wagers in person or through online access. Currently, the Department of Justice is standing by its interpretation of the 1961 Wire Act, which prohibits the use of wires (credit/debit cards, Western Union, Bank wires) to fund gambling accounts.

Indiana's new bill passed the senate with a vote of 38-11. The bill also authorizes in-play betting (betting on games in progress), the use of live dealers by the state's two racinos, permits ownership in more than two casinos and increases the perks casinos can offer to loyal gamblers. 

According to Senator Mark Messmer, R-Jasper: “this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reset the casino industry in Indiana.” Senator Eddie Melton, D-Gary, added: “I don’t see this as an expansion of gaming. I see this as an opportunity to leverage our existing assets.” It's noteworthy that no one in the Senate who opposed the bill issued any kind of statement.


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