Indiana Senator Submit Bill to Legalize Online Casinos and Sportsbooks
While Indiana’s sports betting industry hit a new high at the end of 2020, things went off to a flying start at the beginning of 2021 as Senator Jon Ford announced a new bill to legalize online betting in the Hoosier state.
Senate Bill 417 proposes to allow the 14 brick-and-mortar casinos and racinos in the state to offer online gambling and poker services. Interested operators would have to apply for a new license. The announcement arrives right on the heels of the Indiana Gaming Commission releasing the results for December.
According to the published information, sportsbooks in Indiana posted a record $313 million in handles, shattering the previous record that stood at $251 million. “A lot went in favor of sportsbooks this Fall, and the result was evident during December,” stated Jessica Welman, sports betting analyst.
“Indiana Football, Notre Dame, and the Indianapolis Colts continued to keep the punters hooked and the wagers flowing. This followed a whole month of college basketball, which is significantly more important in Indiana compared to most other states. The start of the NBA season further fueled the rush”, Welman added.
How Sportsbetting is the Key to Indiana’s Revenue Troubles
Welman claims that sports betting generated over $2.3 million in tax revenue in December, while Indiana’s online and retail sportsbooks generated $13.2 million in total. Sportsbooks in Indiana have generated over $2.2 billion since the state legalized sports betting back in October 2019.
“2020 was an incredible year for sports betting in Indiana as sportsbooks continued breaking previous records month over month. Mobile betting played a key role in the success story and will continue to play a crucial part in 2021. We believe the demand will grow by 90% before the end of the year”, said Max Bichsel, the Group Vice President for the US Wing at Gambling.com.
Gaming Revenue in Indiana vs. the Other States
Although the amount raked in by sportsbooks is considerably huge, analysts believe the numbers are dwarfed when compared to online casino games in states where it’s legal. “Larger sums are bet every month, and the wins are more predictable with far fewer fluctuations between months. For a state like Indiana, such a dependable revenue stream is attractive without a doubt”, said Dustin Gouker, an analyst for PlayIndiana.
State Senator Susan Glick also introduced a bill this week allowing bets on video gaming terminals. This is a second Bill completely unrelated to the one introduced by Ford. Previous reports suggest Ford was reluctant to introduce online poker in his first draft of the Bill. But his colleagues and industry experts later coxed him into including the mobile gaming bit.
“They did not think that it would be as huge a deal as I had initially thought. But we’ll see what happens in the end. I’ve taken an approach that allows me to remove the proposition if things take any sudden or unexpected turns,” Senator Ford explained. Ford hopes a hearing committee will discuss the Bill this week, and he believes online betting could generate between $65 and $80 million in taxes every year.