HomeGamesWill There Be a Gambling Bill in Indiana in 2024?

Will There Be a Gambling Bill in Indiana in 2024?

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Indiana is a US state equally famous for its love of basketball and the Indianapolis 500, as is its vast farmlands and agricultural products. One thing it is not renowned for is gambling. That is so because even though Hoosier State legalized online and retail sports betting in 2019, one year after this option became available via the Supreme Court repeal of PASPA. However, commercial land-based casinos are not allowed in Indiana. Nor are online ones or card rooms.

The state allows parimutuel betting on horses and is home to ten river-boat gaming venues, two racinos, and three tribal casino venues. With the 2024 Indiana legislative season in full swing, there are no more active bills regarding gambling regulation for this part of the US. Three exist that have gotten the inactive label attached. These are House Bills 1048, 1161, and 1290. The first bears the name – various gaming issues, the second – gaming revenue distribution, and the third looks to legalize VGTs or video gaming terminals. The inactive label gets attached to bills where specific deadlines within the legislative process have elapsed, leaving these with unachieved milestones. These are not dead pieces of legislature, only ones that have not seen any recent action or progress.

Hence, hopes for Indiana gambling laws getting passed that will bring interactive gaming to residents are currently nonexistent. This especially became clear after Former Shelbyville Rep. Sean Eberhart recently pleaded guilty to accepting bribes in exchange for support of district casino laws. In November 2023, Eberhart admitted guilt regarding his unethical and illegal behavior in favor of Spectacle Entertainment to help push through legislation that will aid the company in building casinos in Gary and Terre Haute.

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Receiving kickbacks and bribes constitutes conspiracy to commit honest services fraud. And that is what Eberhart pleaded guilty to. Overseen by Churchill Downs, the Terre Haute Resort on Native grounds opened its doors in March 2024. Nevertheless, the federal corruption scandal that was connected to it tabled the likelihood of any new gambling bill getting passed in Indiana.

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Below, we swiftly run through the cited inactive Indiana gaming bills.

House Bill 1048 – Various Gaming Issues

Alan Morrison is a Republican politician who earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania and a master’s from Indiana State. He assumed office as a Member of the Indiana House of Representatives in November 2012 in its 42nd district. He has authored, co-authored, and sponsored various bills on different subjects, including environmental, financial, educational, and gaming. His 1048 House Bill looks to address what Morison called various gaming issues.

It tries to protect riverboat gaming entertainment locales and casinos when another government unit loses revenues. It removes the obligation for Vigo County licensed riverboat owners to make payments to Evansville. It also mentions eliminating additional financial payments to Hammond, East Chicago, and Michigan City while abolishing an established hotel community fee.

House Bill 1161 – Gaming Revenue Distribution

Jim Pressel is a Republican House of Representatives (20th district) member who assumed office in November 2016. Pressel is listed as the author of House Bill 1161 – Gaming Revenue Distribution, with representatives Karen Engleman, Randy Lyness, and Jack Jordan noted as the co-authors of this proposed law aiming to establish a gaming revenue fund.

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The bill sought to collect funds from various sources, such as the gambling game wagering fee, the sports wagering tax, the taxes/fees imposed on pari-mutuel wagering (but not from operating agents), ones from slot machines, and more avenues, with all these funds pooled into one pile, which the state comptrollers would administrate. House Bill 1161 also set up guidelines for how the money collected in this fund would get distributed by existing and conflicting regulations.

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House Bill 1290 – Video Gaming Terminals

In Indiana, a video gaming terminal is an electronic machine that can feature simulated gambling, boasting gameplay akin to casino table products like blackjack or card gambling action like poker. The rewards these games payout can be in-game credits or ones that can be redeemed for cash. These machines still need to be legal in Indiana, despite various attempts over the years to get them into bars and various stores, with advocates noting they have the power to generate millions of revenue dollars for small businesses and the state.

Republican Chris Judy’s House Bill 1290, co-authored by his co-party members Justin Moed and Steve Bartels, hopes to authorize betting fun on video gaming terminals in distinctly cited venues and establish a licensing structure for those who wish to allow this type of gaming. It also imposes a 30% wagering tax on adjusted gross receipts.

Video gaming terminals have made quite a name for themselves throughout the US, introduced at tribal gaming spots and classified as Class II gambling machines. Over the past three decades, they have significantly made their way out of tribal land into gas stations, bars, and parlors in states that have permitted them.

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