Indiana and Colorado move forward with sports betting plans

29 October 2018

Indiana and Colorado have taken a step closer to legalising sports betting after lawmakers in both states set out plans to introduce regulated markets in 2019.

Last week, it was revealed that Indiana lawmakers are keen to include both online and mobile betting as part of legislation after a state-commissioned study by research firm Eilers and Kejcik said Indiana could expect consumers to place more than $250m (£195m/€219.5m) in sports wagers each year.

Indiana’s Interim Study Committee on Public Policy has already voted to support plans for legalised sports betting, but panel chairman Representative Ben Smaltz has warned there are “many perils down the pathway before it becomes law”.

“My concern is the regulations, funding,” Smaltz said, according to the Associated Press.

However, Indiana Gaming Commission executive director Sara Tait has said that sports betting could launch sooner rather than later, saying it is “something that has been successfully regulated (elsewhere) for years, so we’re not going to have to reinvent the wheel.”

Meanwhile, Colorado Representative Cole Wist has said while legalising sports betting in the state is a “no-brainer”, he has called for a proper discussion on the matter before it can progress with plans.

Colorado faces pressure to declare its position on sports betting after the Santa Ana Star Casino Hotel in neighbouring New Mexico started accepting sports wagers earlier this month. Nearby Nevada has also been offering legal sports wagering for many years.

Wist said he would be open to Colorado following a similar route as New Mexico and other states that have legalised sports betting in the wake of the repeal of PASPA, but is keen to have a conversation “to see if this is something we as a state want to do”.

According to the Daily Record Colorado, Wist added: “I think it’s important to go back to the voters and make sure it's something that they want.”

Wist and other lawmakers in Colorado will also have to convince casinos in the state to accept legalised sports wagering. In 2014, casinos opposed expanding gaming to racetracks in Colorado.

Wist added: “I think there are reasons legally why we don’t have to, but we have to be respectful of that history.”

Colorado has a population of just over 5.6 million, while Indiana has more than 6.6 million residents.

Image: Allen Allen