Online Casino Bill Emerges in Indiana

Indiana Senate

A new bill has been introduced in Indiana that will legalize online casino gambling in the state.

Last year was a good year for gaming in Indiana. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the state hit record highs in the industry. Now as 2021 begins, one lawmaker looks to expand on that success. Senator Jon Ford has introduced a measure that will legalize iGaming in the state. This would be a big step for the Hoosier state and provide a stable revenue base when it comes to the gambling industry.

Senate Bill 417

Many states are currently considering online gambling, especially after land-based casinos were shut down for most of 2020 due to the pandemic. In Indiana, this new bill would allow for the 14 casino and racinos in the state to provide online gaming options, including casino and poker games. To be able to offer such games, operators would need to apply for online licensing.

The proposal was introduced just after the state’s Gaming Commission provided results from sports betting in December. Data revealed that $313 million was bet on sports betting last month, much higher than the $251 million the previous month.

Sports betting has been hugely successful in the state and some lawmakers feel that online casino and poker gaming would be just as successful. In December, the state was provided $2.3 million in taxes and for the year, operations provided just over $13 million in tax payments.

In the industry, mobile betting was the dominant factor. It is estimated that in 2021, the market share involving mobile wagering will represent more than 90% of the bets placed in the state.

More Money from Casino Games

While online sports betting is certainly successful, it is expected that online casino games would be even more profitable. PlayIndiana analyst Dustin Gouker commented that more is bet every month on casino gaming and there is less fluctuations when considering month to month.

And this makes sense. Sports betting will have its highs and lows depending on what sport is in season. Plus, the pandemic has caused many people to look at online operations. Last year, sports were shut down for a few months, which led to zero sports betting. With online casino games, the option remains open regardless. The games do not rely on teams or real people to operate.

Take New Jersey for example. The state has an established online gambling industry and has for over seven years now. The online casino market offers slots, live dealer, table games, video poker, and more. Every month, players log on to bet on these games. Because of consistent traffic, the sites bring in tens of millions in revenues each month, usually hitting a new record high.

In today’s environment, online gaming is preferred to land-based mainly due to the treat of the coronavirus. We have no idea how long the virus will continue to be an issue, so getting started with online gaming now is a must. As players have an online source to use, states like Indiana can still offer a source of entertainment despite any disruptions like the need for social distancing due to the virus.

On top of the online gaming bill, another measure has been proposed for gaming expansion. Senator Susan Glick has introduced Senate Bill 267, proposing that video gaming terminals are legalized in the state.

The VGT bill is a separate measure from the online gambling bill. It will be interesting to see over the next few weeks if either bill passes and how Indiana might expand its gambling industry, offering more to players. It seems there is support for both measures, so we could see both come into play later on this year.

Associate Writer: Geoff enjoys both live and online poker as well as casino games, and is particularly knowledgeable about the legal landscape of online gambling.