Summary: Legislation involving sports betting continues to move forward in Indiana but without mobile wagering as an option.
For sports betting to be successful, there must be an online component involved. While states in the US can benefit from land-based wagering, having a mobile or online option allows players to place a wager from wherever they may be. The convenience is a factor that states reap the revenues from. In Indiana, sports betting legislation is moving forward, but without mobile wagering, even though one lawmaker is trying to see the option added.
S 552 is a bill that is set to legalize sports betting in Indiana. The bill is up for amendments and a vote in the House Ways and Means Committee but is being considered without a mobile component. Senator Jon Ford is hopeful that the bill will see online gaming added. It could be on the House floor or during a conference committee when the change is added.
Ford spoke with Legal Sports Report recently stating that he was disappointed that the mobile aspect was removed from the measure. The senator feels that the move is a big win for the illegal market and he hopes that the issue will be worked out where the mobile language can be put back in for consideration.
Removing Mobile from the Equation
Ben Smaltz, the chairman of the Public Policy Committee is the one who removed the mobile component from the measure. The move was made despite stakeholders of the new industry stating that they needed access to mobile gaming in order to capture the illegal black market. Smaltz is unsure of the size of the black market and does not seem to realize the connection that mobile wagering has to solving the problem of illegal wagering.
There is plenty of proof thought that a black market exists. Even Ford has pointed out that across the United States, players are taking part in illegal wagering. With land-based options, players have to visit the facility to take part. With online, they can place a bet from their home. Instead of going to the casinos or gaming facilities, the player will just hit the black market online and place a wager. The state then loses money and the player is not protected.
It seems it may still take some convincing to get Smaltz and other lawmakers on his side, but Ford is determined to do so. Every state could easily take a look at the sports betting model of New Jersey to see just how successful one can be with online wagering.
New Jersey was the first to offer both land-based and online sports betting and has easily sees a ton of traffic with their online option. Reports show that as much as 80% of those who place wagers on sports betting in New Jersey are doing so online or via mobile device.
Along with removing the mobile component, the Public Policy Committee also choose to remove the requirement of official data usage for in-game wagering. It is believed that the legislation will remain regarding this portion of the bill but there may be a carveout made for Indy Car racing data.
It will be interesting to see how the bill will progress in the coming weeks. Will the state be able to legalize sports betting? Will additional changes be made to the legislation? Only time will tell what will happen to sports betting legislation in Indiana, but hopefully the result will be that the state is added to the list of those who now legally offer the option in the US.