When Will Indiana Launch Online Casinos?

The old saying “dead on arrival” has never been more appropriate than in the case of two bills that failed to get out of committee in the Indiana General Assembly late last month, both of which would have legalized online casinos in the state.

If Indiana is going to vote on and possibly pass legislation to authorize online casinos, it will have to wait until 2023 when the General Assembly can take it up again.

House Bill 1337, sponsored by Rep. Alan Morrison, and H.B. 1356, brought forth by Reps. Doug Gutwine and Ethan Manning were left to languish in red tape, missing a deadline to be reported out of committee. This is the second consecutive year that iGaming has failed to reach the Indiana General Assembly legislative floor for a vote.

Under current law, casinos are not permitted on land in Indiana, they must be in designated bodies of water as riverboat operations. Sports betting, on the other hand, has been legal in the Hoosier State since 2019.

Bills Set Tax Rate on Online Casino Revenue at 18%

In the wake of the failure of both bills to even reach the floor of the General Assembly, lawmakers are generally tight-lipped as to why twice in two years the efforts have not succeeded. Some speculate that the health of the Indiana economy, which has rebounded quickly from the pandemic shutdowns, has made online casino revenues less attractive. The legislature has also had a short session due to the rise of the new Omicron virus, which shoved aside many bills that were not seen as pressing.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, who signed sports betting into law in 2019, has never publicly opposed online casinos, but he has expressed a desire to be careful in how his state moves forward to expand legalized gambling.

H.B. 1337 would have permitted licensed owners of riverboat casinos, operators of riverboats in a historic hotel district, or racetrack operators to provide online casino gaming.

H.B. 1356 called for online casinos (sometimes referred to as iGaming) to launch in Indiana as early as July of 2023. Similar to the other bill, H.B. 1356 would have allowed operations by licensed riverboat casino owners, riverboat casino operators in historic hotel districts, as well as permit holders at racetracks in the state.

Both of the bills, which were left to die in committee due to lack of widespread support, called for an 18% tax rate on gaming revenue.

A study by Global Market Advisors, commissioned by the iDevelopment & Economic Association and the Casino Association of America, predicted that iGaming revenue in Indiana could reach $575.8 million by Year 3 of legalization, generating $86.4 million in taxes.

Lawmakers in neighboring states Illinois and Iowa are also debating online casino legislation, but Michigan has had its market operational since January 2021. Neighbor Ohio passed a bill to allow online sports betting but not online casinos, but has yet to launch.

About the Author

Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes has written three books about sports. He previously worked for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Major League Baseball. He enjoys writing, running, and lemon bars. He lives near Lake Michigan with his daughters and usually has an orange cream soda nearby.