IA Legislators Pass Sports Betting Bill, Governor to Decide Bill’s Fate
Just days after Montana and Iowa passed sports gambling bills, lawmakers in Indiana have passed a gambling bill that would not only allow for legal sports betting, but would also permit new casinos in Gary and Terre Haute. Both the House and Senate voted on this week to pass the bill, H 1015, which would see legal sports gambling in Indiana as early as this fall. This was quick work by the state’s leaders considering the various obstacles and objections that stood in their way.
Sports Betting in Indiana
There were a few major changes made to what gambling looks like in the state:
- Sports betting will be permitted at racinos, casinos, and at off-track betting parlors.
- The date for racinos to have table games is moved up to the beginning of 2020.
- Two riverboat casinos in Gary will be moved; one to Terre Haute and one inland.
- Starting on January 1, 2020, the horse track casinos in Shelbyville and Anderson will be permitted to have table games with live dealers.
With this bill, sports betting in Indiana will mean:
- mobile wagering all through the state;
- no betting on amateur athletes under the age of 18; and
- no betting on Esports.
Vendor licenses will cost $100,000 for the initial year, then $50,000 every year thereafter. The tax rate will be set at 9.5 percent on adjusted gross revenue.
The plans are for the Spectacle’s Gary casinos to consolidate, and a Terre Haute casino will open. This will make two horse track casinos and 12 casinos in the state all together.
What’s Next for Indiana?
Now that H 1015 passed in the House 59-36 and in the Senate by 37-12, the bill will go to Governor Eric Holcomb’s desk; he’ll have seven days to take some kind of action. According to Senator Jon Ford, who was a sponsor of the original legislation, he expects the bill will receive the Governor’s signature.
However, there are still many of the state’s lawmakers that oppose sports gambling in the state. One of the most vocal opponents to this bill, and any other sports betting bill, was Rep. Ben Smaltz who thinks the passing of this bill will come back to hurt the state:
“This is a monumental policy shift, and this is the beginning. This issue is going to come back and haunt us in the future. I’m not excited about having sports wagering in my community anywhere. I’m really not excited about what happens in six years when there’s new people here (in the General Assembly).”
State Senator Dennis Kruse spoke about the concern over gambling addiction:
“Then you lose a productive citizen because of that habit, and it’s kind of sad and their family suffers and the whole community suffers.”
We’ll find out by early May whether or not Indiana legalizes sports betting. It all comes down to whether or not Governor Holcomb believes the good outweighs the bad, the revenue outweighs potential concerns over gambling addictions.
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