The state legislature of Indiana is revising a proposal for a new bill submitted last week which would see mobile sports betting become a legalized form of gambling throughout the region, along with the greenlight for 2 additional casinos to be constructed in both Gary and Terre Haute.
The 2 new facilities would take Indiana’s network up to 11 casinos and 2 racinos, and with the addition of sports betting in the state – revenue figures from both are expected to rake in an additional $75 million per year.
Previously, and according to Bill 552, the state house only permitted sports betting to be conducted on designated casino sites; however, the updated legislation (now known as Bill 1015) would permit sports wagers through mobile devices at a 9.5% tax rate for persons 21 and over.
Sen. Mark Messmer, a Republican from Jasper, is one of the original authors of Bill 552, who also introduced the latest revision to the state committee on Monday.
“If you have sports betting without a mobile app platform, you don’t really have a very usable tool,” he said.
Opposing members of the committee were said to be worried over the effects of the new bill and gambling expansion; particularly where classic casino games going online is concerned.
Despite worries, the Indiana Gaming Commission have proposed a new set of rules surrounding the approval of sports betting in casinos. If the House gains the majority of votes this week, these new regulations could take effect from July 1.
“They were optimistic they could have rules ready in time for the NFL season. That’s really up to the commission on how fast they roll them out and get them into effect,” Messmer added.
Setting the Wheels in Motion
Gary Casinos is looking at Spectacle Entertainment as the new operator to help the 2 casino boats in Michigan transition over to mainland ones. The new location is set to sit alongside the Interstate 80-94 in the city, and will feature a brand new casino and hotel complex.
Spectacle will be required to invest at least $150 million into its construction, along with a $20 million fee to the state. The company are said to have already put aside $300 million to fund the entire project and will also look to place a bid on a license in Terre Haute for at least $25 million, if voters approve a referendum to take place at the House of Senate next year.
The mayor of Gary, Karen Freeman-Wilson, is hopeful that the compromise will give the city of Gary a much-needed economic boost from moving the casino away from industrial areas. The relocation will also allow the site to be redeveloped into a cargo hub.
The state’s 2 racinos: Shelbyville and Anderson, were due to permit table games with live dealers from 2021. With the latest bill proposal, another provision will push this date forward to either January 1, or July 1 2020.
Although betting on scholastic and e-sports would be illegal throughout the state if the bill passes, traditional gambling will still remain outlawed. Representative Ben Smaltz questioned when the bill was first put forward to the House Public Policy Committee – he argued that mobile sports wagers could lead to addictions within the community and also encourage underage gambling.
“I think it is ill-considered and way too fast,” said Smaltz.
The bill will make the rounds through the Senate and the House either Tuesday or Wednesday this week.
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