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Months after legislators ordered more study of Indiana sports betting, state officials are hiring a well-known consulting firm.
The Indiana Gaming Commission agreed late last month to a two-year, $74,999 contract with Eilers & Krejcik, according to a report from Thestatehousefile.com.
The Las Vegas-based consultancy will advise legislators and regulators as they examine the possibilities of Indiana sports betting. Legislators in both houses introduced sports betting bills in this year’s session prior to the repeal of PASPA, but later opted for an interim study.
Legislators hope to see the firm’s initial research by fall as they prepare to expedite new sports betting legislation in 2019.
“Knowledge is power, and it’s good to identify as much data ahead of time as we can,” Rep. Alan Morrison said in the report. “But we’re moving forward this session.”
Indiana features a fairly mature casino market with 13 properties. With nearly 6.7 million residents, the Hoosier State could present a market opportunity for all the major players.
The bills proposed at the state legislature would have capitalized on both land-based and mobile wagering. Operators would have been taxed at 9.25 percent of revenue, not including the federal excise tax of 0.25 percent of total handle.
The House version of the bill featured another more concerning element …
Dropped in January by Morrison, the House bill to legalize Indiana sports betting initially did not include an integrity fee. An amended version filed days later featured a hefty one, though.
The bill would have directed 1 percent of handle to sports leagues, who lobbied Indiana legislators to include their cut. A single percent of handle could equate to 20 to 25 percent of profits for operators.
No sports betting legislation approved in 2018 included an integrity fee. New York legislators came the closest to giving the leagues their wish, but ultimately did not pass any sports betting bills.
Whether the integrity fee returns in Indiana remains in question. Whether the leagues will push for it in the same manner also remains cloudy following the NBA’s recent deal with MGM Resorts.
Indiana showed willingness to regulate and monetize sports contests in 2016. That’s when legislators made the state just the second in the nation to pass a daily fantasy sports law.
Given the presence of NCAA headquarters in the state, that is a significant achievement. Whether the NCAA — which softened its gambling stance a bit post-PASPA — weighs in on Indiana sports betting legislation could affect its chances of passage.