Gov. Holcomb Supporting Push For Online Hoosier Lottery

Posted on February 28, 2022 - Last Updated on March 14, 2022

Gov. Eric Holcomb is the latest major player in Indiana to weigh in on the Hoosier Lottery potentially adding online games.

Retailers around the state have been voicing concerns about the possible move taking place without legislative oversight.

Online Hoosier Lottery causing friction

Not all Hoosiers are on board with the lottery adding online games.

Various gambling-related groups around the state are worried about online games cutting into their revenue streams. Those groups have ties to casinos and retail lottery sales.

Until recently, those concerns were falling on deaf ears. Nothing was going to change without legislators wanting to interject into the process.

However, some House and Senate committees are starting to involve themselves. They’ve begun backing provisions that would require the lottery to get a thumbs up from the legislature before moving things online.

The Hoosier Lottery currently has the power to add online games without any extra approval. That’s thanks to the Lottery Act of 1989.

Despite that, some Hoosiers believe that the system is in need of change since lawmakers were not considering cellphones and the internet 30 years ago.

The new provisions could eventually end up circumventing the current rules if they pick up enough steam.

Gov. Holcomb ready to explore

Pushing new changes through the legislature isn’t an easy move.

That may be why Gov. Holcomb is making his voice heard about the potential of using online options to boost lottery revenue.

“We’re going to continue to look at all the innovations that come out and connect with consumers,” Holcomb said last week. “Obviously, demand oftentimes drives the day. We want to make sure we do it in a responsible way.”

Holcomb supported the push to add legal Indiana sports betting back in 2019, so him keeping an open mind about online lottery isn’t a surprise.

Despite that, adding online Hoosier Lottery games is triggering greater concerns that some have about online gambling in general.

Similar concerns for online casino

New forms of online gambling are becoming more commonplace around the US, including right here in Indiana.

Indiana gamblers are used to having online sports betting as an option, but it isn’t the only version of internet wagering that’s been making the rounds recently.

Indiana lawmakers failed to legalize online casinos this year, partly because of concerns about online gambling expansion. That puts the chance to add online versions of classic games like blackjack and poker off until next year.

The Hoosier Lottery is starting to run into identical roadblocks now that it’s looking to add online versions of its games.

Indiana House Speaker Todd Huston believes that the issues facing online lottery and casinos are one and the same.

“This issue’s obviously been intermingled with a broader discussion around iGaming and those types of things,” Huston said.

Despite the potential for extra revenue, some lawmakers are against online gambling in general. That’s already creating extra hurdles for Indiana online casino efforts, and now it’s bleeding over into the online lottery push.

Things are getting foggy, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Depending on how the Hoosier Lottery’s efforts turn out, that could help clear the way for an easier online casino push in 2023. Lawmakers hashing out their concerns about online gambling now would leave one fewer hoop for iGaming legislation to jump through next year.

Photo by Associated Press
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Jake Garza

Jake Garza is a US Gambling Industry Analyst for Catena Media. He specializes in Midwest sports betting and casino content. Prior to covering the legal gambling industry, he spent time as a professional sports writer, reporting on teams such as the Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts and Indiana Pacers. Garza is currently working as a Managing Editor for PlayIndiana and PlayOhio, with previous stops at other well-known brands such as PlayIllinois and PlayMichigan. He has been covering the gambling industry since 2019, and currently works with a team of other journalists to provide comprehensive coverage of the legal U.S. gambling industry.

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