Indiana Slowly Moving Toward Sports Betting, Hires Market Experts
The Indiana Gaming Commission has hired Eilers & Krejcik Gaming LLC to perform marketing analysis on the sports betting industry. The firm has signed a two-year deal with the commission, for a reported $75,000. Regulators responsible for the Indiana gaming industry want to gather as much information as possible about sports betting in the Hoosier State, just a few months after the SCOTUS struck down the federal ban on sports betting outside of Nevada.
The case that went before the Supreme Court was Murphy v National Collegiate Athletics Association, and it argued that the PASPA (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act) of 1992, which banned sports wagering outside of four grandfathered states, was unconstitutional. The four grandfathered states were Delaware, Montana, Oregon, and Nevada. Only Nevada had the most freedoms to offer sports wagering during the last 26 years. The Supreme Court agreed that the PASPA restrictions were unlawful and overturned the ban, which opened it up for individual states to draft new laws or regulations to allow sports betting in their state.
Indiana Sports Betting
The state has considered legalizing sports betting before now. Last year, several states passed legislation that would legalize or deregulate sports betting ahead of the Supreme Court case. Two lawmakers in Indiana, Representative Alan Morrison (R-Brazil) and Senator Jon Ford (R-Terre Haute) wrote bills during the 2018 session that would have allowed legal sports betting outright if the Supreme Court overruled the PASPA restrictions. And although the Supreme Court justices did exactly that, on May 14, neither one of the bills proposed in Indiana made it through the session. Lawmakers decided instead to have a summer study committee.
Both Morrison and Ford have said they will introduce legislation again in 2019, without waiting for the IGC finishes its contract with Eilers & Krejcik.
According to an article from The StateHouseFile, the lawmakers plan to move ahead this session because they want access to the potential revenue out of the already-present “gray market” of illegal sports wagering, to Indiana’s benefit. House Bill 1325 included a fiscal analysis with projections of at least $3.1 million up to $18.8 million annually, if the law imposes a 9.25 percent tax on bettors.
Jennifer Roberts, the associate director of the University of Nevada’s International Center for Gaming Regulation, said those numbers are probably a little high. She said that the final numbers cannot be guaranteed for any particular state. She said,
“You have to really understand the business operates at a low margin. It will certainly add some benefits, but it’s not going to suddenly repair all your roads.”
Further, the types of platforms offered at different wagering events will result in different outcomes for Indiana.
Platforms for Sports Betting
Morrison and Ford stated that they would like to have mobile platforms as well as physical venues for sports betting, since an online option would allow someone at a sports event to bet on the game’s action from their paid seats in the stands, using their smartphone or tablet.
Roberts explained that online betting was ideal because it would most likely help pull people from using illegal gambling methods by requiring them to sign-up with licensed apps. These apps typically include screening methods and, depending on the state and its laws, advanced geofencing technology that restricts mobile wagering access to places where sports betting is legal.
Opponents of Mobile Betting
The executive director of the Indiana Council for Problem Gambling, Christina Gray, who is also the former director of compliance for the IGC, is apprehensive about how Internet-based sports betting and gambling appeals to younger individuals, and other problem gamblers, since it’s more accessible.
She’s happy to see that the commission is working with Eilers & Krejcik, since they will be studying the issue of legal sports betting and is hopeful that there will be language to protect “problem gamblers” in any legislation that results from their study.
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