The Indiana iGaming measure that could have brought online poker to the Hoosier State has expired in committee, ending the state’s chances of seeing the online game legalized there for the remainder of 2023. House Bill 1536, a general expansion of casino-style iGaming offerings, expired in a House committee today without receiving a vote or other specific consideration.
A handful of industry watchers held optimistic views that HB 1536 could move farther than similar bills offered in previous years, since the bill’s primary sponsor, State Rep. Ethan Manning, had become the chair of the Public Policy committee where HB 1536 was assigned.
However, the bill quickly became an afterthought with no reasonable prospect for success. Despite leaking advance notice of the bill’s pending introduction to a handful of local media outlets in December, Rep. Manning then delayed the bill’s introduction until late January, finally submitting it on the last day such legislation could be introduced in Indiana’s 2023 House session.
Whether that was or wasn’t a tacit acknowledgment that the votes weren’t there, HB 1536’s fate was sealed almost from the start. The measure was never discussed during several committee sessions dedicated to new legislative matters, being backlogged behind other, higher-priority initiatives.
A similar deadline for Indiana State Senate committees to hear new legislation also passed on Thursday. With no iGaming bill on the table in that chamber, Indiana online casino gaming and online poker are back on the shelf until at least 2024.
“We need to do a better job educating the [General Assembly] membership and the public about need for i-gaming,” Manning told a news pool on Thursday. Manning also cited conflicting state-generated studies about whether online casinos would cannabalize the state’s existing land-based casino industry.
“There’s a disconnect there,” said Manning, referring to a favorable study on iGaming not cannabilizing land-based gambling conducted by the Indiana Gaming Commission. “[W]e need to work on that and figure out why the report’s not being pushed through onto the fiscal side. I think there’s some concern about the source of the data that was used.”