A new bill is hoping to legalize Video Gaming Terminals (VGTs) in Indiana.
Under the proposed legislation, local bars and restaurants would be able to install VGTs at their locations. That would let Hoosier plays games like electronic poker and blackjack all around the state.
Indiana casino games are incredibly popular, so adding VGTs would tap into that demand. However, this VGT bill isn’t the only gambling legislation that’s hoping to make it out of the statehouse this year.
Gamble in local bars and restaurants
Other states around the US like neighboring Illinois already have VGT industries. HB 1548 would add Indiana to that group.
The bill plans to tax VGT revenue at 30%, which could potentially generate millions of dollars of revenue every year.
Business has been booming in Illinois, despite it’s slightly higher tax rate of 34%. The 45,000 VGTs in the state created $67 million of tax revenue during December 2022 alone.
The following types of Indiana businesses could add VGTs under the proposed law:
- Bars, restaurants and other establishments licensed to serve alcohol
- Truck stops
- Fraternal organizations
- Veterans organizations
VGTs are typically smaller than pinball machines, so many of these businesses around the state already have the space available to install new machines.
The bill has already been filed in Indiana’s House of Representatives, but it still has a long way to go before potentially becoming law.
Indiana online casinos will take priority
VGTs are only one form of Indiana gambling that’s hoping to make the cut during the 2023 legislative session.
There’s currently a major push underway to legalize online casinos in Indiana. That bill would allow Hoosiers to play internet versions of their favorite casinos games from the comfort of their homes. It would also legalize online lottery tickets in the state.
Since lawmakers are placing such a big focus on the online casino bill, a push to add VGTs will likely be a lower priority this year.
All gambling bills in Indiana have to pass through the state’s Public Policy Committee. Rep. Ethan Manning heads that committee, and he’s also the author of the online casino bill.
That will place legal iGaming to the front of the agenda, but that isn’t to say that the VGT bill won’t have a chance at making its way through.
Gambling expansion is always a tough sell in a conservative state like Indiana, and there’s only such much effort that lawmakers and lobbyists can put in during a single session. With online casinos and lottery as the focus during 2023, VGTs might end up having to wait for another opportunity further down the line.
This isn’t the first time that Indiana has tried to legalize VGTs, and it likely won’t be the last either if the current bill doesn’t make it to the finish line.