Indiana’s Congress approves sports gambling bill
The legislation still has to be approved by Governor Holcomb
Indiana has been working on a new gambling bill that includes, among other things, provisions to offer sports gambling. The legislation has been stuck making its rounds in Congress for the past several months, put before the Senate this past February. Now, House Bill 1015 (HB 1015) has been given the seal of approval by both the House and the Senate and the only thing left is for Governor Eric Holcomb to give the bill the green light, which is anything but a sure bet.
The bill allows any of the casinos, racinos or satellites in Indiana to apply for a sportsbook license. All sporting events could be offered, with the exception of amateur and high school sports and video games. In-person and mobile betting would be legal for anyone 21 years old or older and mobile betting, unlike what has been seen in bills in other states, would be legal from anywhere within the state’s boundaries.
The Indiana Gaming Commission will provide the framework for sports gambling and will be in charge of approving licenses. There will be a 9.5% tax on all bets and, if Holcomb signs off on the bill, sports gambling could come during the upcoming NFL season.
There is a certain amount of controversy surrounding the bill and Holcomb’s ability to approve it. HB 1015 also allows changes to certain casino operations in the state and there are rumors of Holcomb showing favoritism with the owners of Spectacle Entertainment, which operates two riverboat casinos in Indiana. Both have now been authorized to move in-land, which is going to put them in a position to generate more revenue, but the tax rate associated with the new facilities is not in line with that of other land-based operations. It remained at the same level as what the riverboat casinos were paying.