The wait is over. Indiana has become the 10th state to legalize sports betting.
On Wednesday, the Indiana sports betting legislation became law after Gov. Eric Holcomb signed the measure.
“Gaming is a highly regulated industry that once had little competition, but now does from surrounding states and new technology,” he said in a statement. “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.”
While sports betting was relatively uncontroversial, other components of the gambling reform package, aptly dubbed “Gaming Matters”, were hotly contested. During the legislative process, the legislation was described as a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity for the state to make changes to its gaming industry.
The drama over the sports betting provisions was certainly present, however, thanks to provisions authorizing online/mobile sports betting being stripped from the bill during its time in the House committee stage. The Indiana Senate voted in favor of online gambling, and so when the legislation moved to the conference committee stage, Senate backers were able to reinsert the online betting language.
The stakes were high, as sports betting confined to inside Indiana’s casinos would have greatly dimmed the market’s potential. In New Jersey, more than 80% of the handle comes via the internet. Indiana’s market should mirror that breakdown.
Under the legislation, the Indiana Gaming Commission would start accepting sports betting applications on July 1, 2019. Indiana Sen. Mark Messmer, a Republican who spearheaded the bill, said in a recent interview that he’d like to see Indiana have mobile sports betting this fall. That’s probably too aggressive of a timeline. Brick-and-mortar sportsbooks by the start of the NFL season is a far more likely outcome.
The legislation allows the IGC to issue “temporary” certificates for sports wagering while full approval is pending, a provision that expedites that launch of Hoosier State sports wagering.
Sports betting operators would pay a $100k application fee, with their vendors (sports wagering service providers) paying a $10k fee. Casinos would have to pay $50k each year to renew the license. Sports wagering revenue would be taxed at a 9.5% rate, which is relatively industry-friendly.
At one point in the legislative process, the legislation called for mandating that casinos and their tech partners use “official league data” for in-game wagering. That language was stripped from the bill.
“A certificate holder or vendor may use data selected in a manner approved by the commission to determine whether a wager is a winning wager,” reads a provision in the legislation.
Under the bill, casinos could contract with up to three brands, or skins, for online sports wagering.
Highlights of HB 1015
- Mobile Betting? Yes
- In-person registration required? No
- Tax rate: 9.5%
- Annual license fee: $50,000
- Legal to bet on college games?: Yes
- Fee to pro leagues: No
- Use of “official league data” mandated?: No
- Regulatory body: Indiana Gaming Commission
- Where the money goes: General Fund