he Indiana General Assembly approved legislation Wednesday night that allows to place wagers on professional and college sports as soon as September 1. The bill was approved by a 59-36 vote in the House and a 37-12 vote in the Senate, and now heads to Gov. Eric Holcomb, who can sign it into law, veto it or let it become law without his signature.
A provision legalizing sports betting could allow any of the state's casinos, racinos or satellite locations to apply to offer wagering on all but amateur or high school sports in addition to video games. Sports wagering in casinos and on mobile devices for people age 21 and older would be legal, and gambling could take place from anywhere in the state on mobile devices.
A different bill passed the Indiana Senate in February, but the Indiana House voted to allow sports betting only at casino sites. On Wednesday, the revised House Bill 1015 gained the approval of both the House and Senate - with mobile wagering included. After Gov. Eric Holcomb receives the bill, he will have seven days to make the final decision.
The proposed compromise would allow the Indiana Gaming Commission to issue regulations and start approving casinos for sports wagering beginning July 1, according to The Associated Press, with a 9.5 percent tax on sports wagering. Legalized sports betting in the state could start as early as this fall, if it is signed into law by Holcomb.
Eight states - Nevada, New Mexico, Mississippi, West Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Rhode Island - currently offer full-scale legalized sports gambling. Several additional states have passed bills.
House Bill 1015 moves up the state's 2021 date for permitting table games with live dealers at the two central Indiana horse track casinos in Anderson and Shelbyville, and increases the number and type of facilities a gaming operator can own from two casinos to six casinos and racinos.
It also allows Spectacle Entertainment to move one of its two recently purchased Gary licenses miles away from Lake Michigan to a more heavily traveled area. In doing so, the casino operator would have to give up its second license, which would go to Terre Haute. The company could later bid against competitors to win it back. Spectacle must relocate one license within Gary in order for the other to move to Terre Haute.
But in a decision that was criticized by some Republican and Democratic lawmakers, the legislation would still only require Spectacle Entertainment to continue to pay taxes as if the operator owned two smaller, lower-revenue-producing riverboat casinos, which could result in tens of millions of dollars in savings.
Spectacle would also be able to operate just as many games at its future inland casino as it has been able to at its two riverboat casinos combined, making it potentially the largest casino in the state.