Legislators Move to Bring Legal Sports Betting to Hoosier State

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Another day, another state moving to go all-in on legalized sports betting.

Late last week during a study committee hearing, Indiana lawmakers voted to recommend legislation that would bring sports betting to the Hoosier state.

Prior to the vote, the committee heard testimony regarding several issues, including whether professional sports leagues get a bite of the apple, where bets may be placed and allowing betting on mobile devices.

Eight states have or are ready to implement legal sports betting: Delaware, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, West Virginia and, of course, Nevada, which has allowed betting since 1931.

In May, the U.S. Supreme Court paved the way for the expansion of legal gambling beyond Nevada when it overturned a law prohibiting sports betting. New Jersey brought the lawsuit that challenged the law.

Also on Friday, a report by Eilers & Krejcik Gaming and commissioned by the Gaming Commission was released that shows over five years revenue from sports betting in Indiana could be as much as $256 million. Total annual in-state economic impacts from regulated sports betting by year 5 is projected to be $466 million.

The study zeroed in on two ways to wager: retail and mobile betting and retail-only betting. Retail, of course, referring to casinos or other authorized outlets.

In Indiana, the states 13 casino’s likely would be the facilities to host sports betting. There also is a push for the ability to bet via mobile device as well.

“Critically, we believe that mobile sports betting represents more than half of the total revenue potential of the Indiana market,” the report said. “We further believe that a market limited to retail wagering would decline after year three thanks to increasing consumer preference for mobile betting.”

People in Indiana already can place bets on horse races using mobile devices and on the internet via personal computers. They can currently use their phones to gamble while inside a state casino.

When speaking to the committee, Dan Spillane, counsel for the NBA, brought up the poorly-named integrity fees. The NBA first suggested the fees to Indiana legislators in January, but since it’s been pointed out professional sports leagues already monitor the sport and its players, the term has morphed into royalties.

Spillane asked for one-quarter of a percent of all wagers plus that legislation require real-time data sharing, so they can better monitor suspicious activity, and verify bets are based on official data from the league and allow mobile wagering. The only sticking point for legislators seemed to be the fees, especially since no other state offering sports betting is paying them.

Matt Bell, president of the Casino Association of Indiana, said his group opposes such a provision in future legislation. “To ask for a cut from casinos and a cut from the state is something we just do not support,” Bell said, as reported by the Indianapolis Business Journal.

At the end of the day, Rep. Ben Smaltz, Republican chairman of the committee, suggested that it was unnecessary for the legislative panel to wrestle with regulations on sports gambling, but to give a broad recommendation for the venture to move forward.

It passed unanimously 9-0.

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