Indiana Set to Consider New Gambling Legislation
February 13, 2019
Indiana has become the latest state in the US to debate sports betting legislation. State lawmakers will consider a bill that would extend the current gambling operations in the state while also providing access to sports betting. Multiple states have taken up such measures in the wake of federal legislation in late 2018 that permitted states to make their own decisions on sports betting.
Gambling is already permitted in Indiana under certain conditions. Casinos must be located on the water. A riverboat casino on Lake Michigan in Gary has operated successfully for many years. The new legislation would allow for casino facilities to be placed inland in cities like Terre Haute.
The current bill also addresses the issue of legalized sports betting. If passed, Indiana residents would have the opportunity to bet on professional and collegiate sports at live sportsbooks. Many people see this as a stepping stone toward the legalization of online sports betting and possibly online casinos.
Indiana lawmakers are motivated by the potential revenues that gambling could provide. The economic impact of expanding gambling in Indiana is significant. Moving the riverboat casinos inland would create a large number of jobs in addition to the taxable revenue that is gained from gaming operators. Moving the riverboats would also free up harbor development on Lake Michigan.
The Senate Bill 552 is multi-layered. It specifically addresses the legalization of sports betting in Indiana. The current bill would allow existing casino operators to add sports betting to their facilities. All gaming would continue to be regulated by the Indiana Gaming Commission.
The legalization of sports betting in Indiana has bipartisan support, and SB 552 is expected to pass. The sports betting bill also has the support of professional sports franchises in the state. The Indianapolis Colts and also the IndyCar organization have indicated that they are in favor of legalized sports betting in Indiana.
Many other states such as Kentucky also have gambling legislation to consider in 2019. Almost half of the states in the US either have or are considering gambling in many forms, from online casinos and online poker to live betting venues.