The launch of legal online sports betting in Indiana is a game-changer for residents and visitors to the Hoosier State. Online sportsbooks not only offer convenience but several advantages over their illegal, offshore counterparts.
When all of these advantages are considered, it’s really no contest as to which is the superior option. Legal and regulated sportsbooks in Indiana are not only a better option for those actually placing wagers but also for those who aren’t interested in sports betting at all.
Three advantages of legal online sportsbooks in Indiana
Though there are others that aren’t as prominent, there are three advantages to betting at legal online sportsbooks in Indiana that really stick out. In no particular order, here they are:
1. Regulation provides avenues to address consumer grievances
Illegal, offshore sportsbooks are unregulated by the state of Indiana, or the state they are operating in. Because of that, there’s no local recourse for bettors if they encounter an issue in the course of placing or collecting on a bet.
When a bettor places a wager with an illegal book, there’s really nothing to stop that offshore book from refusing to pay out a winning bet besides the book’s own adherence to its policies. If bettors get cheated, they can’t go to the Indiana Gaming Commission with the problem and expect the IGC to act on their behalf.
In that case, the bettors would be reporting their own crimes to the IGC. It’s a different story with a legal sportsbook.
If a bettor has a complaint with BetRivers or DraftKings and doesn’t get a sufficient resolution through the sportsbook, the bettor could contact the IGC and report the situation. That accountability to the state acts as a measure that should instill confidence in Indianans when they place their wagers on a legal site.
While accountability and regulation are important consumer protections, legal books also assist in remedying an issue that illegal books actually contribute to.
2. Legal online sportsbooks combat, instead of adding to, gambling addiction issues
The Hoosier State requires gambling license holders to pay $500,000 each year into a fund dedicated to supporting treatment programs for people with gambling problems. That includes legal online sportsbooks.
In addition, legal books participate in the state’s self-exclusion program. They do not accept wagers from people who have voluntarily banned themselves from placing bets.
Legal books also display information on how to access treatment programs for gambling problems. All three of these things are not true of illegal sportsbooks.
Because offshore books do not participate in the state’s exclusion program, they are dangerous for people with gambling problems. In fact, their very existence is predatory for such individuals.
3. Gambling taxes enrich the lives of all Indianans regardless of participation in gambling
The third difference between illegal and legal books is similar in that licensed operators contribute to the state. In this way, they benefit everyone who lives in or visits Indiana.
Every day, Indiana residents and visitors drive on the state’s public roads and millions of Indiana families take advantage of the state’s public school system.
While not the sole source of the funds that support these public amenities, taxes paid to the state by legal sportsbooks definitely contribute. Sportsbooks in Indiana pay a rate of 9.5% on their handle (the dollar amount wagered).
Because offshore books aren’t licensed with the state, they contribute nothing to Indiana. Illegal books only take from the state, never giving back anything.
Despite the fact that legal sportsbooks have to pay taxes out of their revenues, for the most part, the odds aren’t very different. They still offer competitive odds to the offshore books.
Bettors don’t have to pay those taxes on their bets either. The books factor taxes in as part of their operating expenses and don’t pass that cost on to the consumer.
When these three crucial differences are taken into account, the choice to use legal online sportsbooks is obvious. They offer:
- Consumer protections
- Combat gambling problems
- Contribute to the state’s well-being
Illegal, offshore books can’t make any of those claims.
Legal books are just as convenient and offer a more enjoyable experience because of these benefits, and of course, it is always nice to be on the right side of the law.