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After weeks of dramatic back and forth debate from both the House and Senate in Indiana, the state’s legislators have approved a sports betting measure that Governor Eric Holcomb has said he would sign.
After the bill passed in the Senate by the vote of 37-12, the House moved it to the Governor’s desk 59-36.
On what was the final day of the state’s legislative session, Indiana put themselves on track to become the ninth state in America to legalize sports betting.
The bill first permits betting throughout the state at casinos, racinos and off-track betting parlors.
Two riverboat casinos in Gary will be allowed by the state to relocate, one inland and the other to Terre Haute.
Racinos also successfully lobbied to have table games installed at the beginning of 2020.
One of the most significant sources of frustration on both sides of the bill was the inclusion of mobile gambling.
After it was removed a few weeks back in committee, the mobile amendment found its way back into the bill roughly 48 hours before the bill passed.
Rep. Ben Smaltz was responsible for removing mobile gambling, and once he saw that it had returned to the bill, he was noticeably upset with his fellow legislators.
“This is a monumental policy shift, and this is the beginning. I’m not excited about having sports wagering in my community anywhere,” Rep. Smaltz said.
But other House Representatives in Indiana pushed back on Smaltz’s charges.
“To me, this is being progressive, and it’s recognizing that in a free market, you had better stay on your toes or you’re going to be left behind,” said Rep. Terri Austin.
Mobile betting will be allowed anywhere within the state for residents and visitors.
Officials also set the tax rate for operators at 9.5% on adjusted gross revenue.
Other stipulations in the bill include no betting on eSports or amateur athletes under the age of 18.
The age limit comes in the controversial wake of other states allowing betting on the Little League World Series that is held every August.
Operators will have to also fork over an initial $100,000 fee for a license with annual payments to the Indiana Gaming Commission of $50,000.
According to the Legal Sports Report, Gov. Holcomb has told other legislators that he will pass the legislation with a signature.
“(Gov. Holcomb) will be good with the bill. He told me if we get it to him he will sign it,” State Senator Jon Ford said.
Sports betting experts have opined that Indiana agreed on wagering because of the rumors that Illinois and Iowa are next to pass a legal betting measure.
Perhaps the potential loss of revenue to a neighboring state pushed the Indiana legislation to act quickly and in the opinion of some state representatives like Rep. Smaltz, hastily.
When Governor Holcomb signs the bill into law, betting could come to the state’s casinos and parlors by the beginning of football season.
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