December 29, 2022

Lawmakers closer than ever to expanding legalized online gambling

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Sen. Jon Ford (R-Terre Haute) has been one of the legislature's leaders in pushing for i-gaming. - Brandon Smith/IPB News

Sen. Jon Ford (R-Terre Haute) has been one of the legislature's leaders in pushing for i-gaming.

Brandon Smith/IPB News

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.

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?”



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Much of the debate will center on how to regulate it 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.

2023 legislation 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.

The legislative session begins in January.

 

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

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