One legislative committee wants Indiana sports betting to stay in the analog age, but it might not stay that way.
The House Public Policy Committee amended S 552 on Wednesday to remove language permitting mobile sports betting and a requirement for operators to use official data for in-play wagers.
The bill moves forward to the Ways and Means Committee, where more changes could be afoot. Sources close to the process indicate to Legal Sports Report a likelihood of mobile Indiana sports betting returning to the bill.
The wide-ranging gambling expansion bill passed by the Senate in February received other major changes, but advanced through committee with all its major components intact.
Chairman opposes mobile Indiana sports betting
Earlier this month, Rep. Ben Smaltz, who chairs the committee, told LSR he had reservations about mobile wagering being an expansion of gambling statewide for communities that might not want it:
“I think that the public has to make the decision on if they want wagering available throughout the four borders of the state of Indiana. I think the answer to that in a lot of places is probably not.”
However, no one from the public spoke at a hearing held on the bill last week. Instead, all gaming stakeholders who spoke stressed the importance of mobile if the state wants users from the black market to move to the regulated IN sports betting market.
Smaltz wasn’t moved, saying Wednesday he’s worried about “the tentacles of gaming coming to all our communities” with mobile wagering.
Industry victorious over leagues on data mandate
The other hot topic at last week’s Indiana sports betting hearing was a requirement for sportsbooks to use official data for in-play wagers.
League representatives contend their data is needed for consistent results. With IndyCar based in the state, racing stakeholders argued that official results were particularly important in their sport, where there are no timeouts.
Matt Bell of the Casino Association of Indiana countered:
“I would suggest to you that, at the level of wagering today, if there were integrity problems that have ensued we would read about them all over the place – it would be very evident.
“As operators, we have a profound interest that any data we would use is accurate and reliable. As an industry, we don’t simply sit people in garages, call them and ask them what the scores were in games.”
Following pushback at the hearing from committee members, the removal of language requiring official data puts Indiana sports betting in sync with other states. No state that has legal sports betting thus far has made that requirement.