An Indiana online casino appears to have died of neglect. HB1536 hasn’t had a hearing, and Feb. 21 was the deadline for that to happen.
So it appears the third time wasn’t the charm for the Indiana General Assembly to legalize Indiana online casino and poker gambling.
Indiana online sportsbooks launched in 2019.
The iGaming bill’s author – state Rep. Ethan Manning, R-Logansport – didn’t return repeated requests from Bonus for comment.
So the online gambling industry may never know why the bill died. However, BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt may have predicted its fate – and the reason for it – during a business update in which he said no states would legalize online casino gambling during 2023.
Greenblatt said fears that online casinos would cannibalize the revenue of retail casinos might sink the effort. He said iGaming advocates will need to offer education this year that may result in success in 2024.
Indiana’s 12 commercial casinos generated $2.72 billion in gross gaming revenue (GGR) during 2021, according to the American Gaming Association (AGA). The nonprofit trade association notes that the state’s one tribal casino provided no GGR data.
Why Indiana Online Casino Appears Dead
While Feb. 27 is the “House crossover deadline,” HB1536 hasn’t had a hearing and has only been read once since he introduced it on Jan. 19. Feb. 27 is the deadline for bills to have three readings.
Also, iGaming tax revenue isn’t listed in the $43.3 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2024. On Feb. 20, a House committee recommended that the budget bill be passed.
If the Indiana online casino and poker bill had advanced, the tax rate on operators of 20% was projected to create more than $500 million a year in tax revenue for the state. That’s because research by the iDEA Growth (iDevelopment and Economic Association) used an 18% tax rate to forecast that $500 million figure.
However, HB1536 never got a hearing in the House Committee on Public Policy. That’s where the bill’s been resting since Jan. 19.
Indiana Had Been a Favorite to Legalize iGaming in 2023
Gambling industry leaders named Indiana as one of the most likely states to legalize online casino in 2023.
Hope may remain until legislators leave Indianapolis in April.
However, it may be time to refocus attention on states with active bills, like Kentucky, New Hampshire, and New York.
Because despite the Indianapolis Bar Association‘s tally of legislators in 29 committees hearing nearly 110 bills last week, HB1536 wasn’t one of them.