An Indiana lawmaker introduced legislation that would legalize online poker in the Hoosier State.
Sen. Jon Ford, a Republican from Terre Haute, introduced SB 417, a bill that would legalize all forms of online casino gambling. The proposed legislation would allow the state’s 14 casinos and racinos to run an online platform with the same offerings as their brick-and-mortar properties.
The operators would need to apply for a second license in order to expand their operations to the virtual realm.
The move comes as the Indiana gambling market is seeing record highs in sports betting. In December, the state crushed the $251 million sports betting handle record set just a month earlier with $313 million wagered on sporting events.
Most of the market’s success can be attributed to the addition of online and mobile sports betting. After Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a bill legalizing sports betting in May 2018, the state launched in August 2019. Online betting was added just a couple of months later.
In October 2019, the first month with an online option, the handle nearly tripled, ballooning from $35.2 million in September to $91.7 million.
Throughout 2020, online and brick-and-mortar books combined to pay $13.2 million in taxes to the state coffers, according to local media. The majority of the revenue came from the online operators.
A similar effect is likely when casinos expand their offerings to the internet. Ford believes that online gambling could generate between $65 and $80 million in annual tax revenue for the Hoosier State. That would be in addition to the land-based tax revenue, which was $593 million in 2019, according to the American Gaming Association.