Legislative leaders are now expressing some skepticism over the Hoosier Lottery offering online gaming.
The 1989 law that authorized the state lottery is pretty broad, giving the Lottery Commission a lot of room to add new games without legislative approval. And in a move first reported by the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, the Hoosier Lottery is already working with its private vendor to add online gambling.
Lawmakers may put a halt to that, at least temporarily.
House Speaker Todd Huston (R-Fishers) said he wants to know why ilottery is necessary.
“If it’s just about getting more money to the state General Fund, I’m a lot more anxious to give people back their money than to collect it,” Huston said.
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Senate Democratic Leader Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis) said he’s fine letting the Lottery do what it wants, although he worries about the impact of online gaming, particularly to communities of color.
“Now, if we have to do something, maybe we put some guardrails on it to make sure it doesn’t negatively affect everybody,” Taylor said.
In the Journal Gazette report, Republican lawmakers were initially supportive of the Lottery's move. But Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville) said he thought the lottery's offerings would be simple – like a scratch-off ticket, just online.
"As we have looked it more of late, it looks like maybe they have the ability to do a lot more than that, including putting video game terminals in or having on your phone something that looks or acts like a slot machine," Bray said. "I've got a problem with that."
House Democratic Leader Phil GiaQuinta (D-Fort Wayne) said the legislature should have a say in what the Lottery does.
"There's a lot of issues – how does this affect convenience stores that sell these, and so on," GiaQuinta said. "We've been vetting gaming issues for a long time, especially with the new technology and things that come up. This is really no different."
The legislative session is set to end by mid-March.