For a long time, online gambling in Indiana has been a tricky issue that many people have argued and debated over. Many people were against it, but ever since the United States loosened its restrictions on sports betting, Indiana lawmakers have been slowly changing their approach to online gambling Indiana.
Indiana’s first online sportsbook site began accepting bets in 2019, shortly after sports betting was legalized. The industry has seen tremendous success since then, and some lawmakers have been pushing to legalize online casinos as well.
Although lawmakers haven’t sealed the deal yet, they’re in the process of creating a legal space for online casinos in the state. That said, this doesn’t mean Indiana residents can’t indulge in online gambling. There are some alternatives you may want to try, such as sports betting, lottery, and more.
Indiana’s Online Gambling History
Indiana has a unique take on online gambling laws. When the state legalized sports betting and introduced state-regulated online sportsbooks, it paved the way for mobile gambling to take root in Indiana. However, many other types of online gambling still aren’t legal in the state, so those who want to dabble in these activities have to be extra careful.
If they find out that someone has been gambling on offshore casinos, poker, or sports betting sites, they could get into serious trouble with the law and face heavy ramifications. Indiana’s standpoint on online gambling is very different from other states in the US. Typically, other states blame the operators of these unregulated gambling sites and not the players who participate.
Despite having such strict laws against online gambling, the Hoosier state agreed to legalize online sports betting in 2019, signed by Governor Eric Holcomb. Nevertheless, it remains to be seen how this acceptance of sports betting will change the state’s perspective on online gambling.
The Forms of Gambling Available
Horse Race Betting
Horse race betting in Indiana goes far back to the late 1980s. In 1989, they legalized pari-mutuel betting, and by 2021, there are now two big-time racetracks and four off-track betting (OTB) venues in the state. Like other US states where horse race betting is legal, the history of online horse race betting goes back much further than other forms of online gambling.
Punters from Indiana can easily bet via their favorite horse race betting clients like BetAmerica and TVG.
Sweepstakes Casino Websites
As mentioned, online gambling still isn’t legal in Indiana, and there are stringent laws in effect against these activities. People who participate in any type of gambling that isn’t regulated by the state will be penalized. However, most people are still free to access online gambling websites considered sweepstakes. Indiana has its fair share of sweepstakes casinos, which offer premium and standard slots.
To ensure that sweepstakes casinos aren’t breaching any laws, they have to offer players a chance to win without paying or buying anything.
While the state does permit lotteries, it still doesn’t allow buying tickets online at this time. However, this stance could change in the future. According to an article in the Indiana Business Journal published in 2019, Hoosier Lottery has been delving into the possibility of expanding its territory to include online lottery. For instance, having a mobile app for the state lottery could allow players to conveniently purchase tickets online and win instant games.
Online Sports Betting
As mentioned, Indiana joined a growing list of states to legalize online sports betting. Gov. Eric Holcomb’s decision to sign House Bill 1015 into law back in May 2019 allowed state casinos to launch retail and online sportsbooks. Indiana’s online sports betting industry raked in a lot of revenue in 2020 alone, earning over $19 million. Notably, a majority of this amount came from online platforms.
Sweepstakes Poker Websites
Sweepstakes poker websites essentially work the same way as sweepstakes casinos. In this type of online gambling, players buy “Gold coins” to play games on sites like Global Poker, one of the biggest platforms for sweepstakes poker. Each Gold coin has a corresponding equivalent of “Sweeps coins” used for poker games. Players typically can’t purchase these coins directly, as they’re usually given to players whenever they buy Gold coins. A player can also redeem all kinds of rewards using their Sweeps coins.
Daily Fantasy Sports
Finally, Daily Fantasy Sports are usually available to nearly every player living in the United States. Currently, DFS is legal in 21 states, and Indiana was the second one to approve DFS laws. Daily Fantasy Sports is an explicitly legal form of gambling in this state.
Is Online Gambling Legal in Indiana?
As mentioned, online casinos still aren’t legal in Indiana yet, even though they have legalized sports betting. The state has yet to file any charges against those discovered to be playing on offshore sites, but the use of such sites is a Class B misdemeanor. To satisfy their desire to bet in casinos, Indiana punters will have to go to one of the many riverboat casinos peppered throughout the state.
There’s no need to worry about going against the law for doing so either, as Indiana legalized riverboat casinos back in 1993. Land-based casinos began appearing around the same time, while a racing track + casino combination called “racinos” began popping up sometime in 2008 and 2009.
Indiana’s Gambling Laws
Before you start having a blast making all kinds of bets, it’s crucial to have a better grasp of the laws of the state you’re in. Being more aware of the rules and regulations can help you become a more informed player.
Understanding These Laws
The first step to understanding Indiana gambling is knowing what lawmakers consider “gambling.” And from how we understand it, IN lawmakers consider gambling a game of chance wherein participants may earn or receive rewards. However, the federal judge ruled poker to be a game of skill more or less ten years ago, so shouldn’t it be a legal online game in the state?
Unfortunately, that isn’t the case, and it will be a while before that happens. For now, punters living in Indiana will have to make do with sweepstakes poker sites and casinos, sports betting, and a few other legalized gambling activities.
When Were These Laws Created?
1989 saw the legalization of the Hoosier Lottery after being outlawed for so many years. The decade that came after was crucial in Indiana’s gambling scene, as the state finally permitted pari-mutuel betting and off-track wagers. It seemed at the time that gambling might become a part of Indiana’s culture.
During the state’s golden years (around the early 2000s), punters could play poker in various ways. Interested participants could play however they liked, whether online, with friends, or at casinos. Unfortunately, online poker was later outlawed because some operators were acting suspiciously.
When 2019 rolled around, Indiana lawmakers decided to permit sports betting. The controversial law banning sports gambling (PASPA) lost much of its power by 2010, allowing the states to create their own stances and laws.
Legal vs. Illegal Operators
Since online gambling has so many rules and regulations to consider, it doesn’t come as a surprise that many punters still choose to play on offshore websites. However, doing so isn’t recommended and can be extremely dangerous. Many offshore betting websites don’t have a recognized license, so they don’t follow the same standards as other legal gambling platforms. Not only that, the games available on these sites are unregulated and untested, and there’s a chance that they don’t deal fairly.
With legal platforms, you can rest easy knowing you’re protected and that your funds are secure. If you encounter any issues while playing, the site’s customer service will be there to assist you every step of the way. But at the end of the day, it’s all up to the player. However, playing on legal and state-regulated platforms is always the better option, mainly because they offer better security.