Indiana sports betting bill heads to Governor

A repackaged gambling expansion bill that would legalize sports betting in Indiana has been sent to Governor Eric Holcomb for final approval.

On Wednesday, a conference committee made up of House and Senate leaders made several amendments to the bill which included reinserting provisions for mobile sports betting in Indiana.

The bill passed the Senate and House with the House approving the bill with a vote of 59-36 and the Senate voting 37-12 in favor of the bill.

The bill will now head to Governor Holcomb for final approval. It will take about two weeks for Holcomb to receive the bill at which point he will have seven days to sign the bill into law.

What’s in the bill?

The bill, HB 1015, would legalize land-based sports betting at the state’s casinos, racinos and off-track betting facilities. The bill would also legalize mobile sports betting from anywhere within the state of Indiana.

It is not yet clear if bettors in the state will be able to sign up with mobile sportsbooks remotely.

Betting on amateur athletes under the age of 18 and betting on esports will be prohibited.

In terms of taxation, adjusted gross revenue would be taxed at a rate of 9.5%. A portion of this will be allocated to help combat problem gambling.

The Indiana Gaming Commission will be responsible for regulating sports betting, placing limits on live in-play betting and setting restrictions on data sources.

A sports betting license would cost $100,000 followed by annual payments of $50,000.

As well as legalizing sports betting, the bill would allow for the relocation of two riverboat casinos in Gary. One will be moved inland while the other will be moved to Terre Haute.

The bill will also allow Indiana’s racinos to offer table games from the start of 2020.

Mobile makes a return

The authorization of mobile sports betting has been a hotly debated topic among Indiana’s legislature.

In late March, the House Public Policy Committee voted to remove the mobile sports betting component from the Senate’s gambling expansion bill.

Mobile betting provisions were reinserted into the bill at conference committee held on Monday where several aspects of the gambling expansion bill were debated.

According to CBS Indy, State Senator Mark Messmer, author of the bill, said: “If you have sports betting without a mobile app platform, you don’t really have a very useable tool.”

A hotly debated topic

Although mobile betting made it into the final bill, not everyone is happy about it. Representative Bill Smaltz was among those who opposed the gambling expansion bill.

After seeing that mobile betting was included in the final version of the bill, Smaltz said, “this is a monumental policy shift, and this is the beginning. I’m not excited about having sports wagering in my community anywhere.”

Alternatively, Representative Terri Austin presented a much more optimistic view on the authorization of mobile sports betting in Indiana.

“The truth is gaming is an ever-evolving industry, just like entertainment is,” Said Austin.

“To me, this is being progressive and it’s recognizing that in a free market, you had better stay on your toes or you’re going to be left behind.”

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.

In other legislative news, bills that would legalize sports betting in Iowa and Montana have been sent to state Governors for final approval.

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