On Monday, an Indiana conference committee reinserted provisions for mobile sports betting apps into a gambling expansion bill.
With the new provisions the bill, SB 552, will authorize state-wide mobile sports betting.
Both the Senate and House passed conflicting versions of the bill during the session, which led to the bill being discussed in the conference.
Lawmakers at the conference proposed a final set of amendments, one of which was the authorization of state-wide mobile sports betting in Indiana.
The focus of Monday’s debate was the adjustment to casino licensing and location, something that both the House and Senate have disagreed on throughout the legislative session.
When it was initially introduced, the bill contained provisions for mobile sports betting. However, mobile betting provisions were removed from the bill due to expected resistance from the House.
Both the Senate and House have now come together to approve state-wide mobile betting provisions.
According to CBS Indy, author of the bill, State Senator Mark Messmer said: “If you have sports betting without a mobile app platform, you don’t really have a very useable tool.”
According to a 2017 Oxford Economics Study commissioned by the American Gaming Association, Indiana’s sports betting handle would double with the inclusion of mobile betting.
The study predicted that Indiana’s annual sports betting handle would amount to $3bn without mobile betting and $6.5bn with mobile betting. These figures are based on a hypothetical tax rate of 10%.
The benefit of mobile betting has been seen in New Jersey where mobile betting has dominated the market. In the last three months, 80% of sports bets in New Jersey were placed via a mobile sports betting app.
As it stands, the Indiana bill will set a tax rate of 9.5% on sports betting revenue. A portion of sports betting revenue will be put towards combating problem gambling in Indiana.
The inclusion of live in-play sports betting and the topic of official data sources will be up to Indiana Gaming Commission.
Before the bill can become law, the House must approve the measures. This is because the bill would affect state revenue in Indiana.
Indiana’s legislative session ends on 29 April leaving lawmakers with a small window to legalize sports betting.
If the bill receives approval, Indiana could be the first state to legalize sports betting in 2019.