Holcomb issued a statement on his signing on the bill:
“Gaming is a highly regulated industry that once had little competition, but now does from surrounding states and new technology. By modernizing our laws, this legislation will spur positive economic growth for our state and for an industry that employs over 11,000 Hoosiers.
“Additionally, it will bring in new revenue and create hundreds of new jobs – both permanent and in construction. I will direct the Indiana Gaming Commission to monitor for potential effects of this bill so that we can make necessary changes in future legislative sessions.”
How Legal Sports Betting Made it’s Way to Indiana
House Bill 1015 has seen a bumpy road on its path to becoming a law. The bill began back on January 3, 2019, and after about five months was finally signed by the governor. During that five-month trip, the bill has seen its fair share of controversy. On a number of occasions, the bill had its mobile component stripped and then ultimately re-added.
It seemed that Indiana wasn’t going to be seeing any sports betting laws come about in 2019. However, on the final day of the state’s legislative session a conference committee made up of Senate and House leaders added mobile wagering back into the Indiana legislation. The House had removed mobile wagering from S 552 as passed by the Senate.
Repackaged under H 1015, the bill passed in the Senate by a vote of 37-12 and in the House 59-36.
The bill then headed to the desk of Governor Holcomb. Holcomb then signed the bill on the last day he possibly could have.
Key Features of H 1015
– Allowing casinos to contract with up to three brands for online sports wagering.
– A portion of sports betting revenue will be set aside for problem gambling.
– The bill will also allow for two new casinos to be constructed in the state.
– The bill also allows for the two horse track casinos near Indianapolis to have tables games starting Jan 1, 2020.
– The sports betting scene in Indiana will feature both retail and online sports betting.
– Wagering on esports and amateur athletes under 18 are prohibited. Collegiate betting is allowed.
The bill originally called for casinos having to use “official league data” for in-game wagering, but that was removed from the bill.
How Does the Bill Compare to the Other States?
The tax rate will be 9.5 percent of the adjusted gross revenue. The tax rate is higher than some states, such as Nevada and New Jersey, where the rates are 6.75% and 8.5%, respectively. But it’s lower than others like West Virginia or Mississippi, where the rates are 10% and 12%.
An initial fee for a vendor license will be $100,000 and will be followed with a $50,000 annual renewal payment.
Sports wagering could start as soon as September 1 and bets can be placed by anyone 21 or older at a casino or on mobile devices after a bettor has registered at an Indiana casino.
Requiring bettors to register in-person before being able to place online wagers has been a highly debated topic, as many believe it will hinder revenue. States like Pennsylvania (when online sports betting launches in the coming months) and New Jersey do not require in-person registration. Rhode Island does require in-person registration prior to online wagering.
What to Expect Next in Indiana
The Indiana Gaming Commission will start accepting sports betting applications on July 1, 2019. Republican Senator Mark Messmer said he hopes to see mobile betting in Indiana by this fall, but that may not be a likely possibility. However, brick-and-mortar casinos could be a more realistic possibility before the start of the NFL season.
These changes are widely considered to be among the most significant since the state authorized riverboat casinos in 1993. A legislative analysis estimates the proposal will bring in about $12 million a year in revenue for the state of Indiana.
With online and mobile wagering being legalized, look for partnerships to start forming immediately between Indiana casinos and companies such as FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook. We’ve seen a big increase in online sportsbooks in New Jersey and expect the trend to continue in Indiana.