Will November’s Election Affect Indiana’s Chances For Online Casinos?

Posted on October 24, 2022

Elections can drastically change the future of a state’s legislative agenda. For Indiana this year, election outcomes will influence the chances for the state to legalize online casinos next year.

Indiana’s key gambling advocates are up for reelection this November. These members of the state’s legislature have been important in the expansion of gambling in the state.

Although they’re on the ballot for Nov. 8’s election, two of the most gambling-friendly legislators are currently running unopposed.

That’s a great sign for Hoosiers that are hopeful for Indiana online casinos. The push for an internet gaming bill in January 2023 should have plenty of support behind it.

Online casino bill sponsor running unopposed

State Sen. Jon Ford has been a key part of gambling expansion for years now. He helped lead the charge to bring sports betting to Indiana, and now his focus has shifted to online casinos.

Ford first introduced an internet casino bill back in 2021, but the state still had pandemic-related hurdles to clear that were more important at the time.

Round two came earlier this year when Ford and company took another stab at things. The bill included a handful of important online casino details such as:

  • Allowing Indiana’s casinos to offer internet versions of games like blackjack and roulette
  • Including online poker in the batch of available games
  • Placing the online casino tax rate at 18%
  • Setting aside 3.33% of the tax money to combat problem gambling

This time, Indiana’s legislative schedule stood in the way. The state has shorter sessions in even numbered years, so there wasn’t a lot of extra time available to push a new gambling bill.

Ford is up for reelection on Nov. 8, but he’s currently running unopposed in the Senate District 38.

In other words, Ford will be back to take another swing at legalizing online casinos soon. When things start to pick up steam in early January, expect Indiana’s iGaming bill to look pretty similar to the previous iteration.

Gambling-friendly representative retires

When Ford introduced his online casino bill earlier this year, he thought it would have an easier time making its way through the House, rather than the Senate.

In order to try that angle, Ford passed his bill off to Rep. Ethan Manning and Rep. Doug Gutwein.

The duo introduced the bill to the House on Ford’s behalf, although the bill ultimately didn’t progress.

Much like Sen. Ford, Rep. Manning is also up for re-election this November. And much like Ford, he’s also running unopposed in House District 23.

That will give the duo more options for how to approach passing an internet gaming bill next year. If Ford’s bill has a better chance of succeeding in the House than the Senate, then that’s a route they’ll be able to try again in January.

However, online casino’s other big supporter in the House, Rep. Gutwein, will be out next year.

Gutwein would also be up for re-election in November, but he plans to retire at the end of his term after spending over a decade in office. Kendell Culp is currently running unopposed to fill Gutwein’s vacant seat in House District 16.

Ford will be missing one of his key supporters in the House when he refiles his online casino bill next year, but that ultimately shouldn’t be a huge blow to the bill’s chances.

Rep. Manning will still be around in the House, plus the duo and industry lobbyists have had an entire year to further educate their fellow lawmakers about the potential for iGaming in Indiana.

All things considered, Indiana’s next push to legalize online casinos will have plenty of weight behind it. With the key congressional members running unopposed, November’s election shouldn’t sway the outcome of things very much in either direction.

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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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