On Wednesday, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb officially signed a gambling expansion bill which makes sports betting legal in the state. The bill also calls for significant changes to the gambling and casino landscape in Indiana.
Following the enactment of the bill into law, betting on both pro leagues and college-level tournaments would be legal in the state from September 1, 2019.
The horse-track casinos in the state (racinos) will host table games starting the beginning of the next year. Also, the bill clears the way for two new casinos licenses in Gary and Terre Haute.
This is a major change in the gambling landscape in the city since 1993 when two riverboat casinos were first authorised in Indiana.
Signing the bill into law, Gov. Holcomb explained, “By modernizing our laws, this legislation will spur positive economic growth for our state and for an industry that employs over 11,000 Hoosiers.Additionally, it will bring in new revenue and create hundreds of new jobs—both permanent and in construction.”
It all started in March when bill drafted by senators Mark Messmer and Jon Ford was introduced to the Senate, and the Senate approved the bill by a 38-11 vote.
The bill also met opposition from Speaker, Brian Bosma, who had been vocal about his concerns. According to Bosma, the new bill would be nothing but a move to expand gambling activities in the state.
After that in mid-April, the bill was brought to the House. Senate Bill 552 was approved by the Indiana General Assembly with 78-15 votes in favor of the bill and the state moved a step closer to legalizing sports betting.
According to the provisions in the Senate bill, which now stands officially approved by the State Governor, Spectacle Entertainment which owns and operates the two riverboat casinos Majestic Star I and Majestic Star II will have to pay a $50 million fee if they are to move the riverboat casinos to an interstate land-based location. The company had already announced a $300 million expansion plan for the casinos.
The bill also provides for a new casino license at Terre Haute in Vigo county for which the minimum bid amount is $25 million and the state may soon start accepting applications for a new casino license.