Indiana House Bill Allows State-Wide Mobile Betting, Sets Low Tax RateBy Jill R. Dorson | Published: January 15, 2019 at 2:49 pm
Indiana Representative Alan Morrison’s HB 1363, the companion bill to Senator Jon Ford’s SB 439, got a first reading Friday and was referred to the Committee on Public Policy. The bill mirrors Ford’s in many ways and adds a tax rate of 6.25 percent on gross gaming revenue for in-person wagers placed at physical sportsbooks. There is no mention of a tax rate on mobile/internet bets. In Indiana, the tax rate can only be included in the House version of a bill.
Ford told Sports Handle last week that he was aiming for a 6.75 percent tax, which is what Nevada charges. Either way, a tax rate in the six-percent range will be considered friendly by operators. The key difference between Morrison’s bill and Ford’s is that Ford’s bill requires in-person registration for mobile users, while Morrison’s does not.
If passed, HB 1363 would have an aggressive timeline. The bill would become effective on July 1, casinos and operators could apply for licenses beginning Oct. 1, and licensees could roll out sports betting offerings on Jan. 1, 2020, in time for next year’s Super Bowl and March Madness. Sports betting would be allowed on riverboat casinos, at racinos and “satellite facilities operated by horse racetracks” (read: OTBs).
Data and the details
Like in Ford’s bill, Morrison (R-District 42) goes out of his way not to mandate the use of “official league data.” From the text of the bill: certificate holders “may use data selected in its discretion to determine whether a wager is a winning wager.” The professional leagues have been pushing for a cut of sportsbook profits and/or laws that require data be purchased from them since early last year. While the phrase “integrity fee” first appeared in Morrison’s 2018 legislation, it is nowhere to be found in the 2019 version.
According to the fiscal note attached to the bill, the state could expect to see somewhere between $2.2-$13.3 million in revenue beginning in fiscal year 2021.
Indiana lawmakers have spent considerable time studying sports betting. The Interim Joint Public Policy Committee held hearings in the fall, and the Indiana Gaming Commission signed a two-year deal with a marketing analysis firm to study sports betting.
Highlights of Morrison’s sports betting bill:
Mobile sports betting? Yes.
In-person registration required? No.
Tax rate: 6.25 percent of adjusted gross revenue.
Application/renewal fee: $75,000 application fee and annual $10,000 administrative fee.
Legal to bet on college games: Yes.
Fee or royalty or compensation to pro leagues: No.
Use of “official league data” mandated?: No.
Regulatory body: Indiana Gaming Commission.
Where the money goes: $100,000 to Division of Mental Health and Addiction; to the “Sports Wagering Fund,” to cover the state’s costs with overseeing sports betting; and to the state’s general fund.
Cap on number of licenses available? No.