Indiana iGaming measure introduced, includes online poker provisions

Haley Hintze
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Posted on: January 23, 2023 11:01 am EST

Indiana’s state legislature will consider a recently introduced iGaming measure in 2023 that also includes provisions for the legalization and regulation of online poker. State Rep. Ethan Manning introduced his House Bill 1536 on January 12, amid a mass of new legislation submitted on that day, the cutoff date for the introduction of new House bills for 2023 in the Hoosier State.

Rep. Manning’s bill reportedly been in the works since the last months of 2022, though it was slightly delayed in the submission process and only recently became available via Indiana’s online legislative portal. Besides online poker, HB 1536 includes provisions for online casinos and racinos, to be offered in conjunction with land-based gaming licenses, and an expansion of the state’s lottery offerings into the online sphere.

It’s the third straight year that a multi-category iGaming measure has been submitted for Indiana’s legislative consideration after live and online sports betting won approval in 2019. State Reps. Alan Morrison and Jon Ford separately introduced iGaming measures in 2021 that gained little traction. Last year, Manning and Rep. Doug Gutwein introduced HB 1356 along similar lines. The bills died in the House’s Committee on Public Policy, an initial legislative clearing house. In 2023, however, Rep. Manning has become the chair of the committee, increasing the latest bill’s chances for advancement.

Hoped-for July approval date, multi-state provisions included

Manning’s HB 1536 will need to gather momentum in a hurry if it’s going to meet the July 1, 2023 approval date the bill promises. That leads up to a possible September 1, 2023 launch date according to its backers’ plans.

Among the bill’s primary provisions are that profits will be taxed at 20 percent, which is slightly higher than draft versions of the bill originally promoted, but still among the more reasonable rates being considered in individual, iGaming-considering U.S. states. Players must be 21 or older and physically present in Indiana to participate.

Each licensed operator, meaning an existing land-based casino or riverboat, will be able to offer up to three separate iGaming skins, any or all of which would be able to offer online poker. The casino would pay an upfront $5 million licensing fee that would drop to $50,000 in subsequent years, and the measure includes loss write-off provisions to help offset the initial application fees.

The bill also includes, in a boon to online poker, a provision that will allow Indiana to enter into player-pooling compacts with other states, regardless of whether the iGaming servers are physically located in Indiana or another state: “The commission may enter into an interactive gaming reciprocal agreement with a regulatory agency of one (1) or more other states or jurisdictions in which interactive gaming is authorized to allow an interactive gaming operator to accept wagers from persons not physically present in Indiana, and to allow persons physically present in Indiana to place wagers with parties to the interactive gaming reciprocal agreement, if the reciprocal agreement is not inconsistent with federal law and is approved by the governor.

HB 1536 received its initial House floor reading on Thursday and has since been assigned to Manning’s Public Policy committee, where hearings on the proposal have yet to be scheduled.