Indiana lawmakers closer than ever to expanding legalized online gambling

Legal, online gaming that goes beyond sports is closer to reality for Indiana than ever before.

A recent study suggests Hoosiers are likely spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year in illegal, online gambling—things like poker and slot games.

State Sen. Jon Ford (R-Terre Haute) said more and more lawmakers are understanding the extent of what’s already occurring.

“That’s happening here unregulated, right? So, no consumer protection—they hold back more than traditional brick-and-mortar casinos,” Ford said. “Can consumers get their money when they win?”

Much of the debate will center on how to regulate online gambling and what level to tax it at. The Indiana Gaming Commission recently commissioned a study on how much money i-gaming could generate for the state. Taxed at 20 percent, the report estimated Indiana could collect nearly $400 million over the first three years.

Legislation proposed this year to legalize i-gaming will likely start at an 18 percent tax rate.

Ford said he wants any bill to include more robust responsible gaming efforts—programs that help people struggling with gambling addiction.

“So, for me, it would be more money, more upfront advertising … like we do with alcohol,” Ford said.

Legislation for this year’s General Assembly can be introduced as soon as Tuesday.

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2 thoughts on “Indiana lawmakers closer than ever to expanding legalized online gambling

  1. This is not about protecting individuals who gamble. It is all about grabbing hundreds of millions of dollars in new taxes. Republican legislators should at least try to be honest about that truth.

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