The first thing that comes to mind when you think of Indiana is probably the Indianapolis Speedway, which hosts some of the biggest motorsport events in the country. However, Indiana may soon join the likes of Nevada, New Jersey and Mississippi and legalize sports betting, despite the fact that it has been somewhat of an outlier since the discussion around US legal sports betting began. Indiana lawmakers worked alongside the major sport leagues to incorporate an integrity fee into a piece of sports betting legislation that was introduced in January 2018. Despite the state already having a strong land-based gambling market, it is one of three US states to have completely outlawed online gambling within the state lines.

Is it legal to bet on sports in Indiana?

No. Legal sports betting in Indiana is still a long way off, but legislators made considerable attempts to get the ball rolling throughout 2018. In January, Indiana lawmakers introduced a bill that would legalize sports betting in the state if the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was repealed. Two versions of this bill were created, the one that made it to the state’s general assembly, House Bill 1325, included an integrity fee- which has been a topic of debate since the repeal of PASPA. Bill 1325 was unsuccessful, and the state lawmakers decided that it needed more information on the potential of sports betting to make an informed decision on the legalization of sports betting in Indiana.

The ‘integrity fee’ mentioned in Bill 1325 is essentially a percentage of tax revenue that will be allocated to the major sports leagues. These funds will go towards monitoring the integrity of sporting events in a sports league, ensuring games are fair and that there are no unethical practices, like match fixing or suspicious betting activity. However, many have argued that these fees give sporting leagues the opportunity to generate an extra revenue stream from taxable revenue that should be going to the state.

In October 2018, Indiana lawmakers held a hearing to discuss the topic of sports betting. A number of parties providing testimony for and against the legalization of the activity, but lawmakers ultimately decided that they would move ahead in studying the activity and take extreme care when reviewing legislation. State lawmakers want to pay special attention to eradicating illegal sports betting.

Within the first two weeks of January 2019, two new sports betting bills were introduced by Indiana lawmakers. Senator Jon Ford introduced the first sports betting bill of the year. The bill, titled SB 439, suggests a tax rate of 6.75% and seeks to permit wagering on college sports. A few days after the introduction of Ford’s bill, representative Alan Morrison introduced HB 1363, which acts as a comparison piece to Ford’s sports betting bill. HB 1361 also a 6.75% tax rate but, unlike Morrison’s 2018 bill, does not allocate an integrity fee. This bill goes one step further than Ford’s and, if successful, will legalize mobile sports betting and wagering on college sports.

What else can I bet on in Indiana?

Indiana is home to 14 different casinos, including a mixture of land-based and river-based establishments, and Indiana’s first tribal casino opened in January 2018. Patrons can engage in a variety of slot games and casino games across all of the venues, these games include:

  •    Craps
  •    Blackjack
  •    Roulette
  •    Baccarat
  •    Pai Gow Poker
  •    Let It Ride
  •    Caribbean Stud Poker
  •    Ultimate Texas Hold’em
  •    Mississippi Stud
  •    Big Six Wheel

Casino Name Land/RiverBased Location Contact Email Opening Hours
Ameristar Casino Hotel East Chicago Land and River-based 777 Aldis Ave, East Chicago, IN 46312, USA +1 219-378-3000 Online form 24 hours
Belterra Casino Resort River-based 777 Belterra Dr, Florence, IN 47020, USA +1 812-427-7777 Online form 24 hours
Blue Chip Casino Hotel Spa River-based 777 Blue Chip Dr, Michigan City, IN 46360, USA +1 219-879-7711 Online form 24 hours
Four Winds South Bend Casino Land-based (tribal) 3000 Prairie Ave, South Bend, IN 46614, USA +1 866-494-6371 Not available 24 hours
French Lick Resort Casino Land-based 8670 IN-56, French Lick, IN 47432, USA +1 812-936-9300 Online form 24 hours
Hollywood Casino & Hotel Lawrenceburg River-based 777 Hollywood Blvd, Lawrenceburg, IN 47025, USA +1 888-274-6797 Online form 24 hours
Hoosier Park Racing & Casino Land-based (racino) 4500 Dan Patch Cir, Anderson, IN 46013, USA +1 800-526-7223 Not available 24 hours
Horseshoe Southern Indiana River-based 11999 Casino Center Dr SE, Elizabeth, IN 47117, USA +1 866-676-7463 Not available 24 hours
Horseshoe Casino Hammond River-based 777 Casino Center Dr, Hammond, IN 46320, USA +1 219-473-7000 Not available 24 hours
Majestic Star Casino River-based 1 Buffington Harbor Dr, Gary, IN 46406, USA +1 888-225-8259 Online form 24 hours
Majestic Star Casino II River-based 1 Buffington Harbor Drive
Gary, IN 46406, USA
+1 888-225-8259 Online form 24 hours
Rising Star Casino Resort – Rising Sun River-based 777 Rising Star Dr, Rising Sun, IN 47040, USA +1 812-438-1234 Online form 24 hours
Tropicana Evansville Casino Land-based 421 NW Riverside Dr, Evansville, IN 47708, USA + 1-800-342-5386 Online form 24 hours

 

On top of casino gaming, Indiana also offers a state lottery called the Hoosier Lottery. There is a variety of lottery games available, and tickets for the state lottery can only be purchased at participating retailers. Visitors and residents can also bet on fantasy sports games horse racing and greyhound racing events in Indiana.

Online gambling in Indiana

Online gambling is illegal in Indiana, with the exception of some activities. Visitors and residents can place wagers online on daily fantasy sport games, horse racing events and games of skill, such as backgammon. All other forms of online gambling such as casino gambling and sports betting sites are illegal. However, If Indiana does choose to regulate sports betting, there is always the potential for legal online sports betting  to find its way to the state, which has the potential to open up the online gambling market in Indiana.

Are offshore gambling sites legal in Indiana?

As Indiana’s state law prohibits online gambling, offshore gambling sites are illegal in the state. Indiana law classifies online gambling as a class B misdemeanor, punishable with a maximum prison sentence of 180 days and a $1000 fine. Unlawful bookmaking operations are also classed as a class D felony and carry much heavier punishments such as six months to three years in prison.

We’d recommend steering clear of offshore gambling sites, their lack of a license means they aren’t subject to strict regulatory standards that ensure security and player protection. You also have no way of finding out who is handling the money you deposit into an unregulated online account.

You can spot offshore gambling and sports betting sites by looking at the website’s domain name. Domains ending in .EU or .AG do not hold a license to operate in Indiana and should therefore be avoided at all costs.

Will it be safe to bet on sports in Indiana?

The state of Indiana already has strict policies and regulations in place for all gambling activity in the state.If the state does legalize and regulate sports betting then there are sure to be strong regulatory policies put in place to make sure the activity is fair and safe. However, to make sure gambling remains fun, it’s important to gamble responsibly and avoid betting more than you can afford to. If you have any concerns that you or a loved one may be experiencing problems with gambling, you can contact the Indiana Council On Problem Gambling which has a number of resources available to help you.

You can contact the Indiana Council on Problem Gambling via:

Telephone: 317.632.1364

Toll Free: 866.699.4274

Fax: 317.632.1434

You can also contact the Indiana gambling helpline via:

Indiana Gambling Helpline: 800.994.8448

National Gambling Helpline: 800.522.4700

ICPG Toll Free: 866.699.4274

Who regulates gambling in Indiana?

Gambling operations in Indiana are regulated by the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC), which  is responsible for licensing and regulating riverboat gambling in the state, ensuring all operations comply with state laws. When it comes to horse racing in Indiana, the Indiana Horse Racing Commission is responsible for monitoring the activity.

You can contact the Indiana Gaming Commission via:

Phone: (317) 233-0046

Fax: (317) 233-0047

You can also send them an email using the online form on the Commissions website.

How old do I have to be to gamble in Indiana?

Indiana law states that the legal gambling age for lottery games, pari-mutuel wagering, and charity gambling is 18. However, players must be at least 21 years old to partake in casino gambling.

 

The journey to legal and regulated sports betting in Indiana

Whilst Indiana sports betting is yet to be legalized, we will provide updates as the situation develops.

1851 – The Indiana Constitution that was signed in 1851 banned lotteries, but this was interpreted by legislators as a total ban on all gambling activity.

1988 – On 8 November, a voter referendum approved an amendment to the constitution, lifting the ban on lottery games. The amendment received 62% of the votes. Almost immediately after the referendum, the mayor of Gary, Thomas Barnes, introduced the prospect of opening high-rise casino resorts in an attempt to benefit the city’s economy.

1989 – On 3 May, Indiana’s General Assembly ratified the Lottery Act. The following week the state governor signed the Lottery Act into law and the state’s lottery commission was established in June. Fast forward to October, the state lottery began selling instant scratch off games. The Indiana General Assembly rejected a bill that would allow casino operations to be carried out in Gary.

Although the bill was rejected, a non-binding voter referendum was held which saw 60% of voters vote in favor of the Gary casino bill. This result had no bearing on the law and the state government did not act upon its results.

1990 – A second attempt to expand gambling in Indiana was made, with gambling companies from Nevada and Atlantic City in New Jersey supporting the lobbying efforts. Efforts were unsuccessful and did not make it past the Senate.

1991 – Charlie Brown, a state representative from Gary introduced another bill. This time the bill contained expanded gambling provisions which would authorize riverboat casinos to operate on the Ohio River and for a casino to be built in the French Lick resort area. This bill made it past the House but was rejected by a senate committee.

1992 – Brown put forth another casino bill for Gary but did not receive much support from lawmakers. Legislators in the south of Indiana introduced a bill that would allow riverboat casinos to operate on the Ohio River. The bill passed the house and, with support from lawmakers in Gary, was expanded to allow riverboat casinos on Lake Michigan. Once again, the bill was shot down by the Senate.

Congress passed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) prohibiting sports betting across US states. Four states were made exempt from the law: Nevada, Delaware, Oregon and Montana. These states had legal sports betting regulations in place.

1993 – Brown reintroduced his bill that would allow land-based casinos in French Lick and Gary and riverboat casinos to operate on the Ohio River and Lake Michigan. This time Brown’s bill had the support of entrepreneur Dean White, but it was rejected by the Senate once again.

In June, the Assembly held a special session to discuss the operation of casino establishments. With the expectation that casinos could generate at least $100m in taxes a year, the decision was made to allow five casinos on the shore of Lake Michigan, five on the Ohio River and one near French Lick on the Patoka Lake.

On 1 July 1993, the Indiana Riverboat Gaming Act was passed.

1994 – On 1 September, the Hoosier Park horse racing track opened its doors and begin hosting horse racing events and taking bets on these events.

1995 – The first of the riverboat casinos opened and off track betting establishments began to open across the state, operated by Churchill Downs.

2002 – On 6 December, the Indiana Downs horse racing track in Shelbyville opened its doors for business as the second horse racing venue in the state.

2007 – Indiana legislators passed a piece of legislation that allowed slot machines to be installed at both of the state’s horse racing tracks.

2015 – An amendment was made to the state legislation, allowing riverboat casinos to expand land-based operations  in a bid to remain competitive with land-based casinos in neighboring states.

2018 – In January, state representative Alan Morrison introduced a sports betting bill that included an integrity fee that would be allocated to the major sports leagues. This was the only piece of sports betting legislation in the country to feature an integrity fee.

On 14 May, the Court reached a decision. In a 7 – 2 vote it was agreed that one of the clauses in PASPA violated the Tenth Amendment, as it commandeered power from states to regulate their own gambling industries. This paved the way for all US states to decide whether or not to legalize sports betting. In the weeks after the repeal of PASPA a number of US sportsbooks begin to launch across the country.

The day after the repeal of PASPA, Morrison made attempts to drum up support for the sports betting bill.

In October, state lawmakers held a sports betting hearing to discuss the viability of sports betting in Indiana. The state lawmakers decided that they need more information in order to make an informed decision on the legalization of sports betting.

2019 – At the start of January, Senator Jon Ford filed a bill that sought to authorize sports betting in the state of Indiana. This bill titled SB 439, suggests a tax rate of 6.75% and would permit wagering on college sports. Shortly after the introduction of Ford’s bill, representative Alan Morrison introduced a companion bill, titled HB 1363. This time Morrison’s bill did not allocate an integrity fee. HB 1363 went an extra step ahead of Ford’s bill and, if successful, will authorize mobile sports betting and wagering on college sports.

 

Want to keep up to date with Indiana sports betting legislation? You can count on BettingUS to bring you the latest.