INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – In just a matter of weeks, lawmakers will gather at the Statehouse to talk about sports betting, but the gaming option remains a year or more away for Indiana.
This Indiana gathering will come after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal law that bars gambling on football, basketball, baseball and other sports in most states, giving states the go-ahead to legalize betting on sports. Indiana lawmakers decided to study it this summer.
On Monday, New Jersey’s governor signed legislation allowing sports betting. Michigan is also considering it.
Republican State Rep. Alan Morrison from Brazil, Indiana, said he has championed legal sports betting in Indiana for years. He has tried several bills in years past. “Ultimately, I think it’s a great thing for our gaming industry and, at the end of the day, it’s a win for states’ rights.”
His new plan is to create a bill that helps iron out the kinks of how it would work. “We have 13 casinos or racinos, boats. We have a handful of off-track betting facilities. Those would be the facilities that we would allow.”
He said, “If we implement it correctly and do some things we need to, I imagine it will mean multiple tens of millions of dollars back to the state every year.”
Morrison said if progress is made as he would like, we could see sports betting in Indiana by summer 2019.
The Democratic Party leader in the Indiana House of Representatives, Terry Goodin from Austin, said he is ready to talk about sports betting.
Goodin said, “If we do that, if we have a good strong civil debate, I think we can come up with a good solution. I don’t think any one person or one group can come up with the solution. I think the solution needs to be a mix of ideas and thoughts from everyone involved in the process.”
Not all Hoosiers support the addition of sports betting, though.
Christina Gray, executive director of the Indiana Council on Problem Gambling, said, “We think it’s going to open the door to a lot of possible issues with people having problems with gambling.”
Gray said, “If they decide to allow sports betting, we would likely see an increase for those who may have a problem gambling. For treatment, also maybe some more funds to help us get the word out about problem gambling.”
The state has a hotline — 1-800-994-8448 — and a website listing links to resources that can help people with gambling addictions. Another state website offers an anonymous self-assessment test to determine if someone has a gambling addiction.