Many states have legalized sports gaming or have at least thought about it. Indiana has hesitated to make a decision on legalizing gambling on sports in the state. However, now it appears that the Hoosier State may be prepared to start the discussion.
The Beginning of the Conversation
Nearly six months after the United States Supreme Court ruled that states could legalize sports gambling, the money grab has begun. Before May, only Nevada was allowed to have sportsbooks beginning in 1930. Nevada had sportsbooks long before sports gambling was banned by the US government. Since the Supreme Court ruling, Mississippi, New Jersey, Delaware, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania have legalized single sports gambling. Many more states will most likely legalize gambling in the next year. More than twenty states should have legalized gambling in place before the end of 2019, according to economists. States compete with each other for every gambling dollar. Many states feel to have access to sportsbooks revenue, they need to act and act quickly.
Gambling in the Hoosier State
There are currently ten casinos in the state of Indiana. Nine of the casinos are on the Ohio River, or on Lake Michigan. One casino is land-based in French Lick, south of Indianapolis, which is home to a huge spa resort. Indiana was one of the first states to legalize gambling in the 1990s. The state receives hundreds of millions of dollars each year in casino tax revenues. The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians have a casino near South Bend, Indiana as well.
The Current Debate
There is currently a bill before the Indiana Legislature to consider legalizing sportsbooks. The Senate’s Interim Study Committee on Public Policy voted to recommend that the bill go to the Senate for a full vote. However, there is still a lot that lobbyists and government officials have to do. The Indiana Gaming Commission has hired a consultant to study the effects of sports gambling on the Hoosier State.
The state is facing some significant opposition from the House of Representatives. Many cities, such as Gary, Indianapolis, and South Bend want sportsbooks to go with their casinos. Rural areas of the state are concerned about gambling and do not want it in their areas. They feel the state has enough gambling.
There is no denying the amount of tax revenue that gambling could bring to the state. It is estimated that revenue from sports gaming alone could bring in as much as $50 million. The revenue could be used for infrastructure and educational programs.
There is concern that if sportsbooks are not legalized, the state will be surrounded by illegal sportsbooks online and via applications. There are already many illegal sportsbooks online. These sportsbooks are located offshore and do not pay any federal or state taxes. Many legislators feel sports gambling must be legalized to this legislative session for the state to continue to profit from gambling.
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