Indiana

Sports Betting in Indiana

Indiana outlawed lotteries in their initial state constitution ratified in 1851 and for over a century the citizens of the Hoosier State had few options for gambling.  That changed dramatically in the late 1980’s and today Indiana residents have a decent variety of gaming options.

As has been the case in many states, the new wave of legal gambling began with a lottery.  The ‘Hoosier Lottery’ is the official state lottery in Indiana and somewhat interestingly is the only lottery in the US that uses a state nickname as its ‘official name’.  The menu of games is fairly generic with a mix of draw games including Powerball and MegaMillions along with scratch off instant games. The lottery offers an online component though it is strictly informational allowing players to find retailers and check winning numbers.

The residents of Indiana overwhelmingly backed a referendum to allow casino gambling with 60% casting their ballot in favor.  Unfortunately, the will of the people was temporarily thwarted by some garden variety political shenanigans. The Republican leadership blocked the casino gambling legislation in 1990, it was shot down by a Senate Committee in 1991 and would suffer several additional failed attempts in 1992.  In 1993, however, licensing for ‘up to 5 riverboat casinos’ was given approval during an emergency budget session of the state legislature. The number of allowed riverboat casinos has since been increased to ten. Nine riverboats are currently in operation with five on Lake Michigan and four on the Ohio River.

Land based casinos were legalized in 2011—or more specifically a single land based casino.  There are currently two land based casinos in Indiana with the French Lick Resort Casino in Orange, Indiana and the Tropicana Evansville.  There is also one Native American casino entity called the Four Winds with locations in South Bend, New Buffalo, Dowagiac and Hartford. Each property offers table games including blackjack, craps and roulette along with Class II slots and keno.

There are two parimutuel wagering facilities in the state of Indiana with several off track simulcasting sites.  Hoosier Park currently runs 180 standardbred harness racing dates per year. Indiana Grand opened in 2002 and offers thoroughbred and quarter horse competition.  Both facilities offer slots and ‘electronic table games’ with Indiana Grand offering an video table based poker room.

There has been two pieces of legislation introduced to allow Indiana licensed gaming facilities to offer sports betting though neither received a vote in the 2018 session.  It’s doubtful that either will prove viable—one has a usurious 9.25% tax on sports betting revenue with the other requiring the nonsensical ‘integrity fee’ handout to the professional sports leagues and NCAA.

Sports Betting in Indianapolis

Indianapolis is right smack in the middle of Indiana and relatively speaking Indiana is right smack in the middle when it comes to gambling options. They don’t have it as good as many other states but they definitely have it better than they used to. Things are definitely better than they were for much of the twentieth century. In 1851, lotteries were outlawed and there was pretty much a moratorium on gambling for over a century after that.

As has been the case in many states, the new wave of legal gambling began with a lottery. Indiana voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment lifting the ban in 1988. In 1988, the Indiana legislature authorized the state lottery along with parimutuel wagering. The ‘Hoosier Lottery’ is the official state lottery in Indiana and somewhat interestingly is the only lottery in the US that uses a state nickname as its ‘official name’. The menu of games is fairly generic with a mix of draw games including Powerball and MegaMillions along with scratch off instant games. The lottery offers an online component though it is strictly informational allowing players to find retailers and check winning numbers.

The residents of Indiana overwhelmingly backed a referendum to allow casino gambling with 60% casting their ballot in favor. Unfortunately, the will of the people was temporarily thwarted by some garden variety political shenanigans. The Republican leadership blocked the casino gambling legislation in 1990, it was shot down by a Senate Committee in 1991 and would suffer several additional failed attempts in 1992. In 1993, however, licensing for ‘up to 5 riverboat casinos’ was given approval during an emergency budget session of the state legislature. The number of allowed riverboat casinos has since been increased to ten with five on Lake Michigan and five on the Ohio River. Since Indianapolis is located in the middle of the state they’re two or three hours away from the riverboats on both bodies of water.

Land based casinos were legalized in 2011—or more specifically a single land based casino. There are currently two land based casinos in Indiana with the French Lick Resort Casino in Orange, Indiana and the Tropicana Evansville. There is also one Native American casino entity called the Four Winds with locations in South Bend, New Buffalo, Dowagiac and Hartford. Each property offers table games including blackjack, craps and roulette along with Class II slots and keno. And as you probably guessed by now Indianapolis is two or three hours from all of the aforementioned properties. There are a number of Native American properties right across the Michigan border as well.

There are two parimutuel wagering facilities in the state of Indiana with several off track simulcasting sites. Hoosier Park currently runs 180 standardbred harness racing dates per year. Indiana Grand opened in 2002 and offers thoroughbred and quarter horse competition. Both facilities offer slots and ‘electronic table games’ with Indiana Grand offering an video table based poker room. The Indiana Grand is just over 30 minutes from downtown Indianapolis while Hoosier Park is 47 minutes away.

There has been two pieces of legislation introduced to allow Indiana licensed gaming facilities to offer sports betting though neither received a vote in the 2018 session. It’s doubtful that either will prove viable—one has a usurious 9.25% tax on sports betting revenue with the other requiring the nonsensical ‘integrity fee’ handout to the professional sports leagues and NCAA. Since the NCAA headquarters is located in Indianapolis and they’ve been fighting against sports betting rights across America for years they’re expected to be a thorn in the side in any Indiana regulatory effort. Then again, it’ll be a moral victory for gambling freedom nationwide once sports betting comes to their home state.

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