Sports betting legislation continues to pop up and advance in states across the US, including in Indiana. For most states considering sports betting legislation, the main goal is to offer land-based options. Some states are looking at mobile gaming as well, especially considering the success that states like New Jersey have seen with the mobile component. In Indiana, the bill has not been able to see mobile added, despite the hopes of certain lawmakers pushing for legalized online gambling in Indiana.
Changes but No Mobile
S 552 is currently in the House, set to pass through very soon. Senator Jon Ford is the sponsor of the bill, a lawmaker who expects the measure to be approved by the House this week. The bill has to be approved in order to move forward and not die where it stands. The bill has seen a few minor changes, none of which include the addition of mobile gaming.
If approved, the bill will have to be sent back to the Senate for approval. According to what Ford told sources, the legislation will have to see a conference committee work on the differences between the sports betting bill of the Senate and House and reach a consensus.
Not too long ago, Ford stated that he was going to try and see mobile wagering added back to the measure. However, he was not successful in doing so on the House floor. The option for mobile betting was removed by Ben Smaltz, the Chairman of the House Public Policy Committee. He decided to remove this option despite being told by stakeholders during a meeting that the black market will not be captured unless the mobile component is included.
Amendments Not Including Sports Betting
During the House floor meeting last week, ten amendments were brought up with six of them approved. The six amendments all involved two riverboat casinos in the city of Gary and their moving on to land. One of the casinos would stay in the same region and move on land while the other would move their licensing to Terre Haute.
An amendment was considered involving sports betting but it did not pass. Representative Cherrish Pryor wanted to see some tax revenues derived from sports betting used to cover health insurance for college athletes that do not have coverage from a guardian or parent. It seemed that lawmakers might be on board for this amendment, but it was unable to move forward.
Later on the in the week, a conference committee should start in the House, according to Ford. Ten members from the House and the Senate will be involved in the committee. However, the final decision will be made involving four lawmakers, with half being democrat and half being republican, one from each chamber involved.
Ford will be a committee advisor. He feels that Senator Mark Messmer and Representative Todd Huston, both Republicans, will sign off on the sports betting bill. He also feels that Senator Eddie Melton and Representative Earl Harris, both democrats, will be on board.
The current legislative session in Indiana is expected to end by the 29thof this month. However, some lawmakers have stated to the media that it may end as early as the 25th. If this is true, then lawmakers have only a few more days to review the legislation and make their final decision.
For the most part, it will be a positive to see sports betting legalized. However, the state might not be able to see their full potential without the online component.