Indiana Online Casino Advocates Win Reelection

Posted on November 9, 2022

Indiana’s pro-gambling lawmakers were reelected during Nov. 8’s election. That bodes well for the state’s future chances at gambling expansion.

Those lawmakers will take another swing at legalizing Indiana online casinos next year. In other words, their reelection is good news for Hoosiers that like to gamble.

Online casinos are hardly a done deal for the state, but at the very least, the push for legalization in January will have plenty of support behind it.

Indiana online casino supporters reelected

Sen. Jon Ford and Rep. Ethan Manning were both on the ballots for their respective districts on Tuesday.

However, both of them were running unopposed for reelection.

Ford is the key name behind Indiana’s push to add internet casinos. He was also a driving factor behind the state adding legal sports betting to its gambling lineup.

Ford has already tried to push an online casino bill through the legislature twice, but outside factors like the pandemic led to things falling short.

Despite that, Ford will be back in the saddle to reintroduce his casino bill during the next legislative session. Things will start to pick up steam in January 2023.

When the time comes, he might need some help from Rep. Manning.

Earlier this year, Ford thought his bill would have a better chance passing through the House rather than the Senate. In order to make that happen, he enlisted Manning to present the bill on his behalf.

That’s a strategy that will be on the table once again in a few months since both lawmakers were reelected.

Of course, Ford could opt to send his bill through the Senate instead this time around, but Manning at least gives Ford one more option for trying to pass his bill.

Still hurdles left to clear

Ford will try to legalize online casinos once again in 2023.

However, that isn’t to say that there aren’t still plenty of obstacles to overcome. Rep. Ben Smaltz, who was also reelected on Tuesday, could be one of those obstacles.

Smaltz chairs the House Public Policy Committee, and he’s against online gambling in general.

Smaltz removed the online portion of Indiana’s sports betting bill back in 2019. Ford added online wagering back into the bill during the Senate’s side of the process.

When Ford tried to legalize online casinos earlier this year, his bill died in Smaltz’s committee. That could become an issue once again in 2023 if Smaltz is in a similar position.

Even if Smaltz wasn’t in the picture, it still takes a lot more than one person to implement massive gambling expansion. Pushing a bill through the state legislature can run into all sorts of roadblocks along the way.

At the very least, Ford and company have had a few years to educate and lobby their fellow lawmakers. With Ford and Manning back in office, Indiana online casinos should have plenty of support behind them when the push for legalization picks up in January.

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Jake Garza

Jake Garza is a sports writer based in Indianapolis, IN. He's an Indiana University graduate who's spent time as a sports reporter covering teams at the prep, collegiate and professional levels.

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