Poker Home Game Legislation Filed Again In Indiana

Indiana will take another crack at legislation aiming to authorize, in the form of decriminalization, small-stakes gambling in a private residence.

Indiana Senate Bill 39, which was referred to Committee on Public Policy on Jan. 4, would create a legal defense to certain gambling crimes if the gambling was a “private low stakes card game.”

Private low stakes card game means gambling to which all of the following apply:

  • The gambling is in the form of a card game played with physical cards.
  • If the card game is a banking game, each player takes turns acting as the banker.
  • No person receives a fixed share or percentage of the stakes (in other words, no rake)
  • The gambling does not involve the use of an electronic gaming device, an electronic version of a card game, or the internet.
  • The gambling occurs in a private residence and is not open to the public.
  • Not more than 12 players participate.
  • The amount of an individual wager may not exceed $20.
  • The gambling occurs at a particular residence not more than four times per calendar month.

A similar bill, Senate Bill 434, didn’t advance in 2020.

Cheating in a private card game

The legislation would put in place potential criminal penalties for cheating in one of those home games.

It would be a Class A Misdemeanor if the gain from cheating was $749 or less, punishable by up to one year in jail, with increased criminal exposure depending on the amount.

The provisions from cheating are separate from criminal violations related to robbery.

The cheating provisions in SB 39 do not pertain to any activity inside a regulated Indiana casino.