Indiana Lawmaker Opposed to Mobile Sports Betting

Summary: Indiana lawmaker Ben Smaltz comes out against mobile sports betting, removing the option from S 552.

The state of Indiana is one of many currently working to legalize sports betting within their borders. Over the past few months, we have seen a huge increase in the number of states in the US that offer sports betting as well as those trying to get started. In Indiana, S 552 is on the table, set to authorize sports betting. The bill did include language to allow mobile wagering, but that has now been removed by a lawmaker that is against the option.

No Mobile Wagering

House Public Policy Committee Chairman Ben Smaltz is not in favor of mobile sports betting for his state and recently took action. Before moving the bill through his committee, Smaltz reportedly removed the online option from S 552.

According to sources, Smaltz stated that having it available everywhere within the state is a problem and he felt that consumer protections are a problem. According to Smaltz, if sports betting were to be allowed via mobile then they might as well allow casino games online too.

During the committee hearing last week, several lawmakers were in support of the mobile option. However, Smaltz was not to be swayed. Arguments were that the mobile wagering component is needed to ensure the black market could be captured. Smaltz does not see it that way.

According to the opponent, the black market would have other advantages that would keep people from moving to a regulated market. Such advantages would be betting on credit or no age requirement or background check.

Smaltz stated:

Someone could start an account on a mobile device and then sell it to anyone. If I have a cloned phone account set up to the game, it can circumvent age requirements. I think there are many problems with mobile gaming that should not be summarily dismissed.

Smaltz also questioned the black market size. He insisted that there is no real data to suggest just how big the black market is. According to the lawmaker there is no way to know if the problem is big or small.

No Official League Data

Another component removed from the bill was the requirement to use only official league data when it comes to in-game wagering. This was another point of contention during the hearing, one between the leagues and stakeholders.

On this topic, Smaltz stated that it is not normally required that one single source provide good service information. He pointed out that others are not doing and that it was not something that could be responsibly charged for.

On top of the sports betting legalization, the bill also would see two riverboat casinos located in the region of Gary moved from water to land. The time frame for racinos to add table games has also been moved up.

It will be interesting to see if the bill is able to continue moving forward. With so many aspects, it may see more changes before moving on to be signed into law.


Logan is based in Los Angeles and is an avid poker player having played in tournaments across the globe. He covers both poker & regulatory affairs.