Indiana legislature will see iGaming options in the state remain illegal. House Bill 1536, authored by Rep. Ethan Manning was hopeful of legalising lotteries and online casino games on smartphones, tablets and desktop computers.
It was not to be, however, Manning acting as the Chair of the House Public Policy committee, ultimately decided to forgo a scheduled hearing of the bill leaving the proposed legislation to die.
Indiana’s not so lucky third
This was the third consecutive year that a proposed legislation on the matter had failed to gain any significant traction in the legislature, despite this attempt carrying the most optimism. There are several mitigating factors that either individually or perhaps collectively led to the third consecutive failure of such legislature.
Matt Bell, President of the Casino Association of Indiana as well as a registered lobbyist, expressed disappointment at the lack of consideration the bill received, claiming it was “a setback before we’re out of the gate”. Bell claimed that Manning had expressed more of an interest that he would have justified further examination.
Bell believes, despite a lack of comment from Manning, that the bill was hampered by the push from bar and tavern owners to install video gambling terminals in their establishments should the bill have passed. They were insistent upon the bill involving the inclusion of these gambling devices.
Does Indiana want online casinos?
Another cause for concern was the question of demand, or the lack thereof it, for online casino options. A fiscal impact statement from the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency concluded online casino revenue would be weaker than what had previously been projected. This was in relation to a September report by Spectrum Gaming Group, collected on behalf of the Indiana Gaming Commission.
This information was perhaps more confounding than compounding as the LSA report stated that online casino games would provide competition with tangible effects, taking business away from brick-and-mortar establishments in the same industry. This conclusion opposes Spectrum’s findings in no small way.
Sen. Jon Ford, a great proponent of the previous two years proposed bills, serving as president of the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States, claims there most certainly is demand for online lotteries and casinos. “The last time I looked, there are over 3,000 sites, 76 of them targeted just in Indiana for illegal casino gaming”.
Either a combination of all or a singular yet undetermined factor is preventing any and perhaps all such legislature in accordance with bill 1536 from even gaining any considerable amount of traction.
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