Indiana is latest as a number of states move to legalize sports gambling
Legal Sports Report

Indiana Sports Betting Is Very Close, As Legislature Sends Bill To Governor

indiana sports betting 2019

The Midwest is moving quickly to adopt sports betting. Indiana passed legislation Wednesday to authorize sports wagering, days after Iowa and Montana passed bills.

On the final day of the state’s legislative session, a conference committee made up of Senate and House leaders added mobile wagering back into the Indiana legislation, as Legal Sports Report previously reported was expected. The House had removed mobile wagering from S 552 as passed by the Senate.

Repackaged under H 1015, the bill passed in the Senate by a vote of 37-12 and in the House 59-36.

The bill now heads to the desk of Gov. Eric Holcomb. After it spends a week or two in transit, he will have seven days to take action. Sen. Jon Ford, a sponsor of the original legislation, tells LSR that he expects to receive the governor’s signature.

“He will be good with the bill,” Ford said. “He told me, if we get it to him, he will sign it.”

Key provisions of Indiana sports betting bill

The legislation makes three key changes to the gambling landscape in Indiana:

  1. Permitting sports betting at state casinos, racinos and off-track betting parlors.
  2. Allowing for the relocation of two riverboat casinos in Gary, one inland and one to Terre Haute.
  3. Moving up the date for racinos to have table games to the beginning of next year.

Here’s what sports betting will look like in Indiana:

  • Mobile wagering throughout the state.
  • Tax rate of 9.5 percent on adjusted gross revenue, with a portion allocated to problem gambling.
  • No betting on esports or amateur athletes under the age of 18.
  • An initial $100,000 fee for a vendor license followed by $50,000 annual payments.
  • Limits on in-play betting and restrictions on data sources are left to the discretion of the Indiana Gaming Commission.

The return of sports betting apps

Rep. Ben Smaltz removed mobile wagering from the Senate bill in his House Public Policy Committee last month, telling LSR that he had a problem with mobile wagering being available everywhere within the state.

The House opted to pass the bill without mobile wagering, though Ford told LSR all along that he was confident about getting mobile back in the bill in conference committee.

Seeing that his changes were reversed, Smaltz went on a rant prior to Wednesday’s passage:

“This is a monumental policy shift, and this is the beginning. I’m not excited about having sports wagering in my community anywhere. I’m really not excited about what happens in six years or less, when there’s new people here and somebody comes and says isn’t it silly we can bet on a football game but I can’t play blackjack or roulette on my phone?”

Rep. Terri Austin had a more pragmatic take:

“The truth is gaming is an ever-evolving industry, just like entertainment is. Nobody could have ever told me 10 years ago that I could watch my favorite TV shows on my phone. … To me, this is being progressive and it’s recognizing that in a free market, you had better stay on your toes or you’re going to be left behind.”

Matthew Kredell
- Matthew started his career as a sportswriter at the Los Angeles Daily News, where he covered the NFL, Kobe-Shaq three-peat, Pete Carroll’s USC football teams, USC basketball, pro tennis, Kings hockey and fulfilled his childhood dream of sitting in the Dodgers’ dugout. His reporting on efforts to legalize sports betting began in 2010, when Playboy Magazine flew him to Prague to hang out with online sportsbook pioneer Calvin Ayre and show how the NFL was pushing US money overseas by fighting expansion of regulated sports betting across the country. A USC journalism alum, Matt also has written on a variety of topics for Men’s Journal, Los Angeles magazine, LA Weekly and ESPN.com.

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