Indiana Online Casino Bill Filed In House, Road To Legalization Begins

An Indiana lawmaker has officially filed a new bill that would legalize online casinos in the state. That bill hopes to have a legal internet casino industry up and running in Indiana by Sept. 1, 2023.

Rep. Ethan Manning filed the Indiana online casino bill today, but it still has a long way left to go before it becomes law.

HB 1536 is starting in Indiana’s House of Representatives and has until Feb. 27 to hit its last checkpoint before crossing over to the state Senate.

Details of Indiana online casino bill

Legalizing online casinos in Indiana would allow Hoosiers to play classic casino games from the comfort of their homes. That includes games like blackjack, roulette and even online poker.

Similar to online sports betting, the process would be as simple as opening an app on your smartphone or a website on your computer. That’s an exciting prospect for gamblers in the state, especially for those that don’t live nearby one of Indiana’s physical casinos.

The key points of Rep. Manning’s casino bill include:

  • Allowing Indiana’s casinos to offer internet versions of their games
  • Legalizing online poker
  • Allowing the Hoosier Lottery to offer online versions of its games
  • Taxing online casino revenue at 20%
  • Sending 10% of the tax money to the Addiction Services Fund

The current bill would allow the state’s casinos to partner up with up to three different online casino brands. Each casino would also have to pay $500,000 for its license, which would then renew annually for $50,000 each.

All things considered, legal online casinos would generate huge amounts of revenue for Indiana. Creating a new billion-dollar industry in the state is on the table, but this new bill has to actually pass before that can happen.

What’s different this time?

The latest iGaming bill is actually Indiana’s third swing at legalizing online casinos in the state.

Pandemic-related problems took precedent in early 2021. Things didn’t pick up much steam last year either, as an anti-gaming committee chairman refused to give the casino bill a hearing.

That chairman was Rep. Ben Smaltz, who headed the state’s Public Policy Committee in 2022. That committee is the first stop for new gambling legislation in Indiana, so Smaltz’s resistance to the bill effectively killed it in the early stages.

Indiana state Rep. Ethan Manning
Indiana state Rep. Ethan Manning

However, things are different this year.

Smaltz has moved to a different committee, and Rep. Manning has taken his place. Since Manning is the author of Indiana’s online casino bill, that obviously bodes well for the bill to make it further than it did last year, at the very least.

The path is open for the state’s internet casino bill to make it through the House, but it will still have to navigate the Senate before it can arrive on Gov. Holcomb’s desk.

Friends in both chambers of legislature

Gambling expansion is always a tough sell in a conservative state like Indiana. It’s a long process for a bill to become law, and the new online casino bill could face resistance along the way.

Rep. Manning has already filed the online casino bill in the House. Assuming that things go well in that chamber, the bill will eventually cross over to Senate.

The House has until Feb. 27 to give the bill its third reading. Assuming that things go well up until that point, the bill will hit the Senate floor during the first week of March at the latest.

Indiana Online Casino Bill Filed In House, Road To Legalization Begins 2
Indiana state Sen. Jon Ford

That’s where Sen. Jon Ford comes in.

Ford was behind the push to legalize sports betting in Indiana, and he’s also been at the forefront of the state’s online casino plans in recent years.

This new online casino bill is practically identical to Ford’s bills from previous years. Last year, Ford had Manning introduce the casino bill on his behalf since he believed it would have a better chance starting off in the House rather than the Senate.

The two lawmakers are using that strategy again this year so the bill has someone to help shepherd it through both chambers of the legislature. That’s great for the bill’s potential, but the House is the first obstacle towards legalization.

Manning officially filed the bill today, so the process is already underway. If everything goes according to plan, Hoosiers could be placing bets at legal Indiana online casinos in September.

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Jake Garza

Jake Garza is a US Gambling Industry Analyst for Catena Media. He specializes in Midwest sports betting and casino content. Prior to covering the legal gambling industry, he spent time as a professional sports writer, reporting on teams such as the Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts and Indiana Pacers. Garza is currently working as a Managing Editor for Play Indiana and PlayOhio, with previous stops at other well-known brands such as PlayIllinois and PlayMichigan. He has been covering the gambling industry since 2019, and currently works with a team of other journalists to provide comprehensive coverage of the legal U.S. gambling industry.

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