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Sports betting in Indiana

Legally, the Hoosier state has had a chequered past regarding gambling. In fact, over time, the state of Indiana has legalised most forms of gambling. For example, aside from sports betting, the state allows land-based casino gaming and pari-mutuel betting but has severe limitations on the number of racecourses, OTBs and casinos available in a given area. However, since the repeal of the PAPSA in 2018, the state of Illinois went live with new efforts to legalise sports betting and gambling in general.

As from 1st September 2019, Indiana officially legalised sports betting. On May 8 2019, the state governor, Eric Holcomb, signed the H 1015 bill which allows for the establishment of 13 land-based casinos in Illinois.

The operators moved first, and the first casino opened its doors on September 1, 2019, just in time for the NFL season.

The law allows punters to bet on significant leagues, such as the National Basketball Association (NBA) games, National Football League (NFL) games, National Hockey League (NHL) games and Major League Baseball (MLB) games. The legislation also allows betting on sports such as professional Boxing, Cricket, Soccer and sailing. To be eligible to bet, gamers must be aged 21 years and above. The state prohibits betting on youth and high school sporting events.

Top 3 Sportsbooks in Indiana

The History of gambling in Indiana

Gambling in the Hoosier state and sanctioned gambling, in particular, was borne of the Hoosier lottery. The state established the Hoosier lottery in 1988. Shortly after that, the state passed the Riverboat Gaming Act in 1993 and a year later, it found the premier Horse Racing track. All was well for punters for the next ten years. However, with technological advances, online gaming naturally sought to make its way onto the Indiana gambling landscape, but the same was outrightly outlawed.

In 2007, the state began reconsidering its stance on online gaming and began contemplating the potential revenue it stood to make from regulated online gaming. In that spirit, the state’s assembly legalised racinos. Evermore promising, in 2016, the state also consented to the sanctioning of fantasy sports, a move that was widely embraced by punters statewide.

Come 2018, PASPA was repealed by the SCOTUS, which in turn granted states the freedom to legislate on the regulation of online casinos and sports betting. Legislators embraced their newfound freedom by passing even more legislation on online gambling. Consequently, we can anticipate that by the close of 2019, Indiana residents shall be in a position to fully and lawfully gamble online.

The legality of gambling in Indiana

Of note, is that the legal system treats betting and professional gambling very differently. To begin with, ‘betting’ is defined as ‘Risking money or other property for gain, contingent in whole or part upon lot, chance, or the operation of a gambling device’ on the other hand, professional gambling is said to be ’ When a person knowingly or intentionally engages in pool-selling; bookmaking; maintains a place that has slot machines, roulette wheels, pull tabs, etc.; conducts lotteries; conducts percentage games placed with cards or dice, or accepts or offers to accept property risked for gambling’

On the same note, the penalties for both are vastly different. While a person who engages in illegal gambling in Indiana is said to be guilty of a Class B misdemeanour, a person engaging in illegal gambling is guilty of a Class B felony and should they also happen to have a previous gambling conviction, the charge becomes a Class C felony.

However, this latest legislation has lifted proscriptions on sports betting and online gambling; including real-money online casinos, online poker rooms, and even facebook gaming.

Lawful gambling in Indiana

Despite the harsh statutory outlook in Indiana had, the state has nonetheless sanctioned the following :

Fantasy sports – The state of Indiana authorised these in 2016. Though the state assembly had hitherto proscribed them, one could nevertheless participate subject to payment of certain sums of money. However, the state was also alive to the fact that it was a lucrative sector, and it thus legalised fantasy sports subject to certain restrictions. For one, the participants had to meet the definitions of gambling.

Worth noting as well is that the Indiana Gaming Commission does the regulation of sports wagering, casino gaming and lotteries while that of racetracks is under the mandate of the Indiana Horse Racing Commission.

  • Social gaming
  • Casino gambling
  • Horse racing – Indiana has two racinos which offer both casino gaming and Horse racing.
  • Pari-mutuel betting for horses
  • Pull-tab games
  • Charitable house-based gambling
  • Lottery: every major lottery is available.

Indiana’s Gambling Statistics

No. of Commercial Gambling Facilities:Age RequirementsCasino Regulatory Body:Lottery National Rankings:Approx. Annual Gambling RevenueApprox. Annual Gambling Taxes:
11 Riverboats21 years for casino gambling and 19 years for race bettingIndiana Gaming Commission11th$2.2 million$617million
Two racetracks
A handful of off-track betting facilities

Indiana’s online gambling options and casinos

Indiana’s gamers can now engage in online betting.

Future Prospects

It would thus appear that for Indiana’s punters, the future is bright as legalised sports betting and online gambling takes shape. The residents of Indiana had better be prepared to make the best of this opportunity.



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