Behind Scenes, Indiana Still Mulling Over Online Casino Games For Mobile Sportsbooks

Some Indiana policymakers will more than likely take another crack in 2022 at legalizing online casino games for the already legal and launched online sportsbooks and their respective retail casino partners.

According to iDEA Growth, a trade group that backs online gambling nationally, it recently met with backers of online casino in the state to continue the process of educating the legislature broadly on the issue. Legislation for online casino failed to advance in Indianapolis earlier this year.

Indiana policymakers saw neighboring Michigan launch gambling on sports and casino games over the internet in January. Hoosier State lawmakers will likely be more interested in the vertical now that there’s a growing market for iCasino activity in the Wolverine State. Many of the same companies that are live in Indiana also offer online gambling under state approval in Michigan.

A key factor in the educational process for Indiana lawmakers is determining how to craft a bill that they think will be complementary to brick-and-mortar casino gambling, rather than cannibalize existing gambling spend in the state. Indiana also has a lucrative lottery.

The state’s gaming revenue has been on an upswing thanks to sports betting and the other gambling expansion provisions under a large 2019 legislative package for gambling. Last month, Indiana’s casino industry had its best July in a decade, surpassing an earlier mark that was set when neighboring Ohio didn’t have Las Vegas-style casinos.

Market size estimate for Indiana

The fiscal analysis of this year’s unsuccessful iCasino proposal estimated that Indiana online casinos could provide more than $100 million in taxes in the market’s fifth year. With a proposed 18% tax rate on adjusted gross revenue, that would translate to an estimated market size of about $570 million annually.

“There is little data available on online gaming in the U.S.,” the fiscal note stated. “The legalization of online gaming in some states [has]  provided information on the potential size of total and per-capita online wagers. Using data for per-capita online gaming and online gaming as a share of total statewide gaming from states where online gaming is currently allowed, a range of estimate was created for Indiana. It is estimated that the full impact of interactive gaming will be reached by the fifth year and generate between $286 million to $572 million annually in statewide AGR.”

The state analysis also determined that “online casino games will displace some gambling activities occurring at brick-and-mortar casinos,” adding that “studies have concluded that up to 30% of new online gaming revenues are displaced from existing casino revenues.”

Furthermore, the analysis predicted that the “figure would be higher for a saturated market like Indiana.”

The longer Indiana waits, the more data from other states is available. In addition to Michigan, online casino games are legal in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, and Delaware. Nevada has just online poker (and, of course, mobile sports betting).