U.S. Poker Boom? Indiana, Kentucky introduce online poker bills

Geoff Fisk
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Posted on: January 15, 2021 7:29 pm EST

Two more states could join the regulated U.S. online poker market

How many states will sign off on legal online poker before the end of 2021? Two more potential candidates joined the list this week.

Pro-gambling lawmakers in both Indiana and Kentucky introduced online poker legislation this week, starting a process that could end in regulated online poker coming to both states.

Indiana already plays host to legal online sports betting, but the new bill outlines an expansion into online casinos and poker.

Indiana iGaming bill at a glance

The new iGaming bill was introduced by State Senator Jon Ford. It outlines a plan for Indiana’s online gaming offering to expand into casinos and poker.

Under the proposed terms of the bill, Indiana’s 14 land-based casinos, many of which boast Indiana poker rooms, would be permitted to introduce online casino gaming. Each casino could employ up to three different license partners, potentially putting the Hoosier State in place to offer a robust selection of iGaming brands.

The casinos would pay a $500,000 fee to enter the market, as well as a $50,000 annual renewal fee. License partners brought in by the casinos would be on the hook for a $100,000 licensing fee and a $25,000 renewal tax.

Two of the three major players in the U.S. regulated online poker market already have licensing tie-ins to Indiana. A WSOP.com Indiana platform could launch under the license of Horseshoe Hammond or Tropicana Evansville, both owned by WSOP parent company Caesars Entertainment.

Partypoker Indiana could potentially launch under the license of Belterra Casino, operated by Boyd Gaming. Partypoker US Network parent company Roar Digital has an online gaming agreement in place with Boyd Gaming.

The Indiana bill would have to pass through several steps before it went into law. The first of those hurdles involves presenting the bill to the Senate Public Policy Committee.

From there, the bill would have to pass separate votes in the state House and state Senate. If it got through both chambers, the bill would then go to the desk of Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, who could either sign the bill, allow it to go into law without a signature, or veto the bill.

Kentucky poker bill back on the table

Kentucky’s most recent association with online poker came through a recent ruling that goes all the way back to 2011’s Black Friday in the poker industry. The Kentucky Supreme Court reinstated a fine against PokerStars from the poker boom days of the 2000s and now wants the world’s largest online poker operator to pony up a $1.3 billion fine for illegal operations in the U.S.

In contrast to that, State Rep. Adam Koenig proposed a bill this week outlining legalization for online poker, sports betting, and daily fantasy sports.

Kentucky currently doesn’t offer any form of legal online gambling, and online poker seems to be much more of a longshot for legalization in Kentucky compared to Indiana.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshar has expressed an interest in bringing online gambling to the state. A potential online poker bill would have to get through a vote in the state House and Senate before it could win approval from Gov. Beshar.

Featured image source: Flickr/Bart Everson