Done Deal: Indiana Sports Betting Officially Legal With Governor’s Signature
Indiana is set to have regulated sports betting by the start of the NFL season thanks to a major gambling expansion bill passed and sent to the Governor’s desk last week. The bill became law in the Hoosier state after Gov. Eric Holcomb signed it before Wednesday’s deadline.
Holcomb released a statement saying, “Gaming is a highly regulated industry that once had little competition, but now does from surrounding states and new technology. By modernizing our laws, this legislation will spur positive economic growth for our state and for an industry that employs over 11,000 Hoosiers. Additionally, it will bring in new revenue and create hundreds of new jobs – both permanent and in construction. I will direct the Indiana Gaming Commission to monitor for potential effects of this bill so that we can make necessary changes in future legislative sessions.”
As reported by US Bets’ Brian Pempus, Indiana lawmakers were able to push through mobile wagering after provisions were initially removed in hopes of speeding up the bill. For the better (and the bettor), the legislature was able to include the provisions, and mobile wagering will be allowed within Indiana’s borders.
“Without mobile, Indiana sports betting would hardly be sports betting at all, thanks to the fact that consumers have spoken in other markets, indicating that mobile is needed to have an effectively regulated industry, one that will be competitive with offshore websites and local underground bookies who often utilize apps to facilitate bets,” Pempus explains.
Plenty of sportsbook options likely ahead
Indiana’s law not only allows for mobile wagering, but also opens up robust competition among operators within the state, more akin to what we’ve seen in New Jersey than the gambling legislation passed in Washington, D.C. that will result in just a single, lottery-run mobile sportsbook.
Licensed casinos will be allowed to contract with up to three brands for mobile wagering, meaning already existing casinos in Indiana can quickly partner with established online brands such as FanDuel, DraftKings and PointsBet. In fact Caesars Entertainment and DraftKings have a multi-state deal contemplating access to states like Indiana, where Caesars operates a casino, meaning DK is all but assured to be available there. Likewise FanDuel has a deal with Boyd Gaming, which operates two casinos in Indiana, meaning it should be game on for FD Sportsbook as well.
Additionally, the bill allows for new brick-and-mortar properties to be built.
One Las Vegas-based company is excited about the prospects of competition in Indiana. Full House Resorts CEO Dan Lee told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, “We’re treated the same way as some of the big casinos, so what might not be a very big plus for Caesars is actually a pretty big plus for us.”
The legislation doesn’t require in-person registration for sportsbook accounts, allowing sports bettors to sign up on mobile sites in their own homes – or at rest stops for Kentuckians who may wish to dip over the border to get down their legal wagers.
The Indiana Game Commission will start accepting sports betting applications this July in hopes having mobile wagering ready by this fall.
More to it than tax revenue
The bill, SB 522, was passed despite lawmakers having a relatively bearish forecast on the amount of revenue that will be brought to the state via taxes. Revenue projections range from $20.3 million a year to as a little as $3.5 million.
But as Democratic representative Terri Austin points out, Indiana will primarily reap benefits from the bill by decreasing the $300 million that is bet with underground bookies and offshore sites per year in the state.
Austin’s sentiment echoes similar discussions as the Colorado Legislature passed a sports betting bill of their own just last week.
In the debate, bill sponsor John Cook conceded that sports betting wasn’t going to be a huge money maker for Colorado but that there was more to the policy than just creating tax revenue.
“Right now, there’s already gambling on people’s phones and their computers, it’s called the black market,” Cooke said. “Let me tell you about my concierge … I have a place down here (in Denver) … he said, ‘I want this bill to pass because right now, I have an offshore account and I’d rather bet here in Colorado.’ It’s not a huge moneymaker, but we’ll make $7-$10 million, so let’s keep that money here.”
Colorado’s bill was sent to Governor Jared Polis and has 30 days to be signed, and then Colorado voters will vote on the referendum to allow sports betting in November.
Pressure on Kentucky?
Sports betting legalization in Indiana comes on the heels of Tennessee passing the country’s first online-only sports betting bill.
Like Tennessee, Indiana borders Kentucky, a culturally conservative state that has resisted pushes to legalize sports betting since the Supreme Court’s overturning of PASPA.
It appears that the opposition will try to hold their ground going forward, but with Kentuckians soon able to access regulated sports betting by the ease of crossing state lines both north and south, it could be just enough to push a sports betting bill over the hump in the Bluegrass state.