A year after supporters launched two failed efforts to expand iGaming in Indiana, a key lawmaker in the state House of Representatives is back with a new bill that would authorize online poker and casino gambling through September 1, 2023.
The bill also specifically authorizes Indiana to join a multi-state pact for online poker such as the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA).
Analysts have long considered Indiana to be one of the likely next states to expand from just offering online sports betting. Given the success Indiana Sportsbooks has had since launching in September 2019, it seems entirely possible that the Hoosier State could become the eighth state with regulated online poker (two are currently unoperated) and seventh with online casino games .
Rep. Ethan Manning (R-Logansport) filed a bill, HB 1536, before the Jan. 12 deadline. It was subsequently read for the first time and referred to the House Public Policy Committee, which currently has no meetings scheduled.
Here’s everything you need to know about the bill and what’s happening from here.
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Online casino and poker would be taxed at 20%
Under Manning’s bill, all 12 land-based casinos in the state, including Riverboats and Racinos, would be allowed three online skins for iGaming. The bill calls for the Indiana Gaming Commission (Intergovernmental Conference) to begin accepting applications for online casino licenses from July 1st, with the market launching two months later on September 1st.
Online casino games and poker would be taxed at a 20% rate, and operators would pay an initial license fee of $500,000 – with a $50,000 annual renewal cost. But HB 1536 would also allow operators to deduct up to $10 million annually from their taxable income for bets placed using advertising credit.
Last September, a report was published by the Spectrum Gaming Group on behalf of the Intergovernmental Conference It is estimated that the state would generate $55 million in tax revenue in the first year of online casino gambling if taxed at 20%. The estimate increases to $121 million in year two and $164 million in year three, for a total three-year estimate of $341 million.
The bill articulates that the Intergovernmental Conference would have the same regulatory powers over online casino games as riverboat casinos and racetracks. HB 1536 also requires the Commission to develop emergency rules within 60 days.
Bill would allow Indiana to join the Multi-State Compact
Multi-state poker could also come to Indiana.
HB 1536 states that the Intergovernmental Conference “may enter into an interactive gaming reciprocal agreement with a regulator of one or more other states or jurisdictions in which interactive gaming is authorized to permit an interactive gaming operator to accept wagers from persons who are not physically present in Indiana.”
The bill also provides for players to be “physically present in Indiana to place wagers with parties to the interactive gaming reciprocal agreement if the reciprocal agreement does not conflict with federal law and is approved by the governor.”
This choice of words strongly suggests that Indiana could join MSIGAa multi-state poker compact that currently includes Delaware, Michigan, Nevada and New Jersey.
Spectrum predicted that Indiana would be a smaller iGaming state than Michigan, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, but it would be about twice the size of Connecticut, dwarfing Delaware and West Virginia.
But Indiana’s smaller population — ranking 17th at about 6.8 million residents — means online poker in the Hoosier State will require a membership MSIGA to thrive.
For comparison: Michigan has 10 million inhabitants and New Jersey 9.3 million. Pennsylvania, which has legal online poker but is not a member MSIGAhas 13 million inhabitants.
All US online poker operators have access
The three largest online poker providers in the US – BetMGM, PokerStars and WSOP — already have market access in Indiana.
BetMGM operates an online sportsbook at Belterra Casino Resort. The operator would also likely offer online poker and casino through the Belterra license.
WSOP has several options available since it is owned by Caesars, which also owns and operates properties across the state. Caesars operates retail sportsbooks in Horseshoe Hammond and Caesars Southern Indiana and a retail sportsbook in Harrah’s Hoosier Park. Caesars also operates a mobile sportsbook through Horseshoe and Harrah’s.
PokerStars would likely need access through FanDuel. Both brands are owned by Flutter Entertainment, but FanDuel operates retail sportsbooks in Belterra and the Blue Chip Casino Hotel Spa. FanDuel also operates an online sportsbook through Blue Chip.
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Time is running out
Manning has about five weeks to get his bill passed in the Indiana House of Representatives.
The House Rules set a deadline of Feb. 27 after which all legislation coming out of the House of Representatives must be read three times, a requirement before bills are introduced into the Senate. Conversely, a Senate rule has set February 28 as the deadline for Senate bills to be sent to the House of Representatives.
The Indiana General Assembly has been adjourned since April 29th. Previous efforts to expand iGaming in Indiana failed in 2021 and 2022.