Indiana a Step Closer to Legalizing Online Sports Gaming
A legislator in the state of Indiana was recently interviewed about the possibility that the state will legalize online sports gaming. However, many critics have noted that while the bill is being prepared, the Hoosier State may still be a long way from being able to offer online games.
Gambling in Indiana
Currently, Indiana has several different ways to gamble. There are 10 riverboat casinos that are located on the Ohio River and Lake Michigan. The state also has a land-based casino in French Lick, which is outside the state capital of Indianapolis. Two racinos – which offer slots as well as horse racing, are also available. And, there is one Native American casino, which is owned by the Potawatomis. Indiana also has state and multistate lotteries, scratch-off tickets, and bingo. However, the state does not have online gaming nor does it have sports gaming.
The New Legislation
Indiana State Representative Alan Morrison said he, along with several other legislators, is sponsoring a bill that will allow online gaming and sports gaming. His bill would cover mobile gaming and mobile sportsbooks. It will also create an agency that will make sure the integrity of the games remains intact. The legislator is hoping to pass the bill during the next legislative session. Morrison said online gaming and sports gaming would not only benefit Indiana, but they would also benefit the casinos and other gaming properties. The industries will bring jobs that do not currently exist in the state. Morrison believes that mobile gaming is the wave of the future. If Indiana does not jump on the bandwagon, he said, it will be left behind.
The Potential for a Change in the Law
Other legislators do not agree with Morrison. The Indiana Legislature had the opportunity to pass legislation in May before the end of the session but decided to wait instead. The legislators wanted to see how sportsbooks and online gaming do in other states before they approve it for Indiana. Legislators also point out that, in the best possible scenario, Indiana will not have sportsbooks until the 2019 NFL season – at the earliest. Legislation has to be passed. And, if it passes, the policies for sportsbooks have to be worked out. Online gaming and mobile casino gaming may fare a little better in terms of when the gaming could begin. However, there also laws to be passed and policies that would have to be enacted.
After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states were allowed to decide for themselves whether to or not legalize sports gaming, some states immediately started the process. New Jersey and Delaware quickly joined Nevada in legalizing sportsbooks. Mississippi also quickly legalized sports gaming at its casinos on the Mississippi River and along the Gulf Coast. Pennsylvania is poised to begin sports gaming in September with the beginning of the NFL season. Five other states are at least discussing the possibility of passing legislation regarding sports gaming.
Some legislators have noted that Indiana can’t afford to wait to legalize sports gaming. If casinos or racetracks in neighboring states start offering sportsbooks, the Hoosier State stands to lose millions of dollars. Morrison plans to have a bill ready for the next legislative session. He also said he would like to have a committee study the ramifications of sports gaming in the state, especially those sports people would most likely bet on — football and basketball.
It remains to be seen if the Indiana state government will pass the bill that legalizes both sports gaming and online gaming, or only one. Significant hurdles may remain for the bill to be passed.
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