Indiana’s Online Casino Bill Dies Thanks to Outdated Market Study

Bill dies in House

Indiana’s online casino bill has died in a House committee after its sponsor, Senator Jon Ford, failed to call it for a hearing.

Tuesday’s outcome effectively kills the bill until 2024

With Indiana’s 2023 legislative session ending in April, Tuesday’s outcome effectively kills the bill until 2024. Sports betting legislation writer Ryan Butler took to Twitter to share what Ford thought derailed the bill:

The bill, which aimed to legalize online casino gambling in the state, had been in the works for three years. Its frustrated sponsor blamed the bill’s latest misfire on a flawed fiscal impact statement produced by the Indiana Legislative Services Agency (LSA).

Ford, who had worked with Representative Ethan Manning on drafting the bill, called the fiscal impact statement a “joke” and criticized its claim that online casino games could cannibalize up to 30% of brick-and-mortar casino revenue.

Study predates online casino

The controversial statement Ford cited relied on a 2011 study from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’s Gaming Research & Review Journal done back when online casino sites hadn’t properly rolled out in the US. Ford found the analysis biased and felt that it “ignored more recent studies on the topic.”

While some lawmakers and analysts have expressed concern that online casino could cannibalize the revenue of brick-and-mortar casinos, Indiana’s casinos were unopposed to the bill.

Casino Association of Indiana (CAI) CEO Matt Bell said that seven out of eight casinos supported the legislation.

A 2022 report produced for the Indiana Gaming Commission by Spectrum Gaming Group suggested that there was little evidence of cannibalization in states that had already legalized online casino.

No more til ‘24

Despite the bill’s failure in 2023, Bell remained optimistic about the future of online casino in Indiana, a state that was one of the early adopters of legal mobile sports betting. The CAI head said his association would work to educate lawmakers and the LSA on cannibalization using real market data.

Ford also remained hopeful and said that setbacks were common in the gaming industry, but that progress was being made.

The bill’s failure to pass is, however, a major disappointment for those who had hoped to see online casino games like poker and blackjack legalized by September.

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