Online casino gaming was legalized in the US back in 2013 via New Jersey and Delaware, with Nevada deciding to go with online poker. It was many years before Pennsylvania approved the option in 2017 and they were followed by Michigan in late 2019.it seems other states are seeing the value of online gambling now, particularly with the coronavirus pandemic still in play. Casinos are either closed or operating at a low capacity which means less revenues for local cities and states. In Indiana, Senator Jon Ford is reportedly working on legislation to legalize online casino gaming.
Bringing in Revenues
Senator Jon Ford spoke with PlayIndiana, stating that he is already working on language for an online casino bill. The casinos in the state are at 50% capacity and there is no set date as to when that will change. If Indiana had online gaming, they could still bring in revenues via the casinos, just in an online setting.
Ford will continue to work on the plan and should introduce the measure in 2021. The Senator has cautioned that it is not guaranteed that a bill will be ready or heard by then. The state has yet to decide how they will tackle the next session amidst the pandemic. Some lawmakers want to wait until March and limit bills they consider to essential policy. If this happens, online gambling would be set aside and consider later, probably 2022.
As far as online gambling is concerned, Ford sees the industry in his state set up like its sports betting offering. The casinos and racinos would be able to apply for a license to offer online gaming. Oversight would be provided by the state’s Gaming Commission.
With sports betting in the state, casinos have the ability to create deals with three mobile providers. For online casino gaming, the Senator said he might limit skins to two per online casino. Ford also does not have any plans to offer online poker gaming at this time.
Will It Work?
Indiana is a conservative state and it may be difficult for Ford to find support to pass online gambling legislation. That is one reason why he is not including the game of poker in his bill. The senator feels that online poker is more complicated and would be a tough sell to other lawmakers.
When it came to online sports betting for Indiana, the process was difficult. Mobile wagering was removed from the bill and the online element was not even included in the House bill before it was put back in by Ford. Some people felt that going online was a huge expansion of gaming and they were not in approval.
However, it could be that the timing is just right for Ford to push for iGaming legislation. With the unknowns surrounding the coronavirus and the lost revenues, lawmakers may be more willing to go with online casino gaming as a fresh form of revenues for the state. We shall see as legislation gets back to it if the bill will be considered or left in limbo for one more year.