Indiana Online Casino, Poker Bill Outlines Sept. 1 Launch

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Indiana online casino and poker legislation moved off Hoosiers’ gambling wish lists and into an Indiana General Assembly committee on Jan. 19. The measure outlines a Sept. 1 launch date if the bill becomes law.

Today’s movement means the Indiana bill is moving apace to possibly meet the “House crossover deadline” of Feb. 27. That’s when the proposed legislation either dies or moves into the Senate for consideration before both bodies adjourn in April. Today, it sits in the House Committee on Public Policy.

Significantly, the Indiana online casino and poker bill calls for a tax rate on operators of 20% when it was expected to be 18%. Also, HB1536 outlines that 10% of that tax revenue be transferred to the addiction services fund each year vs. the previously proposed 3.33%.

That previous assumption of an 18% tax rate on Indiana online casino gambling showed the state’s tax revenue would total $500 million a year. That was from a January 2022 study by iDEA Growth (iDevelopment and Economic Association).

Therefore, a 20% tax rate will likely yield more annual tax revenue for Indiana.

The bill also authorizes the Indiana State Lottery Commission to set up an iLottery for the Hoosier Lottery. States that already have iLotteries tend to see high instant game ticket sales on them. However, $1 billion-plus draw game ticket sales for Mega Millions and Powerball tend to make the headlines.

State Rep. Ethan Manning, R-Logansport, didn’t immediately comment for Bonus about the bill he sponsored.

It’s Deja Vu for Indiana Online Casino, Poker

The 34-page-long bill Manning introduced is Indiana’s third try at legalizing online casino and poker gambling. The Hoosier State’s online sports betting marketplace has existed since 2019.

It amends state law by adding legal online casino and poker, as well as an iLottery.

In order to meet the bill’s prescribed Sept. 1 launch date for iGaming, Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) has this work to do:

Beginning July 1, 2023, the commission may accept applications for interactive gaming licenses from any licensed owner, operating agent, or permit holder that wishes to conduct interactive gaming under this article. The commission shall prescribe the form of the application.

The application fee is $500,000, with annual license renewals costing $50,000. Three iGaming sites can be on each license.

An iGaming vendor licensee will pay $100,000 to apply and $25,000 annually to hold onto the license.

Live Dealer Studios Are a Big Deal

In the section about “interactive gaming,” HB1536 says the IGC will oversee all iGaming matters, including live dealer studios.

So if Indiana online casino gambling is legalized, the Hoosier State may join a select group of states with live dealer studios within their borders. Connecticut, Michigan, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania have them, and West Virginians receive Pennsylvania’s live stream.

Notably, other than Connecticut, the states with live dealer studios are among the Big Three online casino revenue states. Michigan, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania realize more than $1 billion in gross gaming revenue (GGR) from online casino gambling each year.

Live dealer games also tend to be among the most popular online casino offerings on the apps that offer them – let alone the branded live dealer options on sites like BetMGM and FanDuel.

So it looks like Indiana online casino and poker legalization efforts may be the real deal in 2023.

About the Author
Heather Fletcher

Heather Fletcher

Heather Fletcher is the lead writer at Bonus, concentrating on online casino coverage. She had her first published byline at age 10, but didn't get paid for her writing until she got her first newspaper job. Fletcher's newspaper career started at Suburban News Publications in Ohio and eventually took her to The New York Times, where she's still a contract freelance reporter for the National Desk. She covers breaking news from Philadelphia, as needed. In March 2021, Fletcher began writing about online casino gambling as the lead writer for Online Poker Report.

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