Poker news | Jan 29, 2021
Indiana Online Poker Bill on the Table
By RTR Dennis
Indiana has become the latest state to seriously consider online poker. The Hoosier State now has a bill on the table that would legalize internet poker.
State Sen. Jon Ford (R-Terre Haute) recently introduced Senate Bill 417 to the state legislature. SB 417 seeks to regulate online poker along with internet casinos games.
Under this legislation, all of the state’s land-based casinos and racinos would be eligible to launch mobile gambling sites. However, they’d each need to apply for another license before featuring an online platform.
Poker and Casino Games Would Add to Indiana’s Online Gambling Success
In May 2018, Indiana became one of the first states to legalize retail and online sportsbooks. The state has since enjoyed great success with its sports gambling operation.
The Hoosier State saw a betting handle of $313 million in December 2020 (latest numbers available)—easily crushing the previous record of $251 million. The $313m figure is impressive for a state of Indiana’s size (6.73 million).
Of course, Indiana can take its internet gambling operation even further with casino games and poker. The latter would add two more verticals for gamblers to enjoy.
Online casino games have proven very popular across other states. They’d no doubt be a major hit in Indiana as well.
Internet poker doesn’t typically draw the same amount of revenue as casino games or sports betting. Nevertheless, it has become more and more popular with COVID-19 limiting entertainment options.
Ford estimates that Indiana mobile poker and casinos games could eventually generate between $65 million and $80 million in tax revenue. The state already brings in nearly $600 million through land-based casino tax earnings.
Would Indiana Join an Interstate Poker Pool?
Online poker growth has been slow in the US. After going live in Delaware, New Jersey, and Nevada in 2013, few states have added this game since.
Indiana could help further the goal of spreading iPoker throughout the US. It’d potentially add another 6.7 million-plus to the country’s eligible player pool.
However, Ford’s bill merely calls to legalize online poker first with no concessions for interstate play. Gov. Eric Holcomb would need to join an interstate compact with other states.
Delaware, New Jersey, and Nevada were the first three states to form a compact with each other. Pennsylvania is expected to join this interstate pool at some point.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer just approved the Wolverine State to join a poker compact. West Virginia features legal online poker but doesn’t yet offer any running sites.
Assuming Indiana legalizes SB 417, then it could join DE, NJ, NV, and MI in a compact. Of course, the state needs to approve this legislation before anything else can happen regarding online poker.