Repackaged Indiana sports betting bill heads to Governor

25 April 2019

The Indiana House and Senate have voted through a repackaged bill that would legalise certain forms of sports betting in the state, with Governor Eric Holcomb to now consider signing the bill into law.

House Bill 1015 yesterday (April 24) passed the Senate by a vote of 37-12 and the House by a vote of 59-36. Holcomb’s signature is now all that is required for the bill to come into effect.

The bill sets out proposals to allow sports wagering at state casinos, racinos and off-track betting parlours. Betting would be permitted in-person, at licensed venues and on mobile from anywhere inside Indiana's borders. The mobile component had been removed by the House Public Policy Committee late in March, though the bill's co-sponsor Senator Jon Ford told that restoring language to permit ombile wagering was crucial to its success.

Operators that obtain a licence in the state would face a tax rate of 9.5% on the adjusted gross receipts from sports betting. These taxes would be payable on a monthly basis, with 3.33% of total tax income going towards problem gambling initiatives.

Licences to offer sports betting services in Indiana would cost an initial $100,000 (£77,500/€89,700), plus an annual administration fee of $50,000, due one year after obtaining the licence. The bill states that these licences would come into effect from September 1 this year.

Betting would be permitted across a range of professional and collegiate sports event, but punters would not be able to wager on esports or amateur athletic contests featuring competitors under the age of 18. Consumers would need to be at least 21 to bet on sports in the state.

HB1015 also sets out measures that would permit two riverboat casinos in Gary to relocate onto land, at a cost of $20m each, payable to the Indiana Gaming Commission. A new casino would also be permitted to open in Terre Haute.

The passage of HB1015 seemingly spells the end for another bill in the form of SB552, which had been passed to the Senate after passing through the House last week.

SB552 is similar to HB1015 in that it sets out a tax rate of 9.5% on sports betting revenue, although licences would be priced much lower at $10,000.

The bill also includes a measure whereby the Gary riverboat casino would need to pay a much higher fee of $100m to a move onto land.

However, the major measure on which the bills differ is mobile wagering. SB552 had originally included proposals to legalise this form of betting, but language was removed by the House Public Policy Committee and was not added again prior to its passage in the House.

Indiana’s legislative session is due to run until April 29.

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