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Indiana Could Make Almost $1 Billion From iGaming If It Were Legalized


May 7, 2024 ( Newswire) The global online gambling market is estimated to expand to an industry worth $100 billion in 2024, tracking to hit a worldwide sector volume of $136 billion in the next five years. Countries around the world are starting to adopt ever-growingly more liberal stances regarding allowing their citizens to enjoy games of chance remotely. Unfortunately, that is not the case in the US, where only seven states allow Web-based casino-style pastimes. Still, even in this nation's underdeveloped online casino sphere, this landscape is notching impressive growth, seeing a 25.7% ($1.26 billion) increase compared to 2023.

Indiana is not among America's interactive gaming (online casino) regions, and per new research published by the Indiana Gaming Commission, conducted by the research and professional services company Spectrum Gaming, the Indiana market, over its initial three years after legalized iGaming could collect at least $413 million through taxation. It is important to note that this production is 5% higher than what Spectrum Gaming's 2022 report stated. Their 2023 one also noted - the iGaming total from revenues and taxes could come up to a little over two billion dollars.

Spectrum and the Indiana Gaming Commission believe that allowing gambling sites to run in the state will do little to cannibalize revenues from land-based venues, which is accurate in US regions allowing online casinos, such as West Virginia and Delaware. Going by the available data from these regulated territories, these two states, along with Pennsylvania and New Jersey, which also permit iGaming, saw retail gaming numbers rise in 2022 compared to 2019. For example, The Garden State, the US' top online gambling market, saw money generated by in-person gamblers reach $2.78 billion in 2022, a $100 million boost compared to the number pulled in 2019.

Hence, there is no economic logic in holding off not allowing remote gaming in the Hoosier State. For those wondering what is legalized in Indiana on the gambling front? Riverboat casinos, horse racing, sports betting, skill contests, poker, and charitable gaming get allowed here.

Potential Tax Rates & Revenues

In 2022, before Rhode Island became the seventh US state to legalize online casinos, joining Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Michigan, Connecticut, West Virginia, and Delaware, Light & Wonder, formerly Scientific Games, a Las Vegas publicly traded company that operates the famed gambling product brands WMS, Shuffle Master, and Bally, went live with a report that stated that local and state governments that already allow brick-and-mortar gaming could gather $6.35 billion in taxes if they also chose to permit Internet gaming. According to Light & Wonder's team, this was a conservative estimate, leaning toward the assumption that newly authorized states would implement a 20% tax rate. The current ones in legalized states range from 15% to 54%. Pennsylvania applies a 54% rate to slot-type options, while West Virginia has a 15% rate.

Spectrum Gaming created three projections using three different illustrative tax rates of 20%, 30%, and 45% in its report. At the highest one, 45%, the three-year tax scenario total would reach $1.04 billion. However, many wonder if such a substantial rate would be adopted. Spectrum itself states that a lower rate could incentivize gambling operators to put their focus online. Despite the rates being more substantial here, the lower capital investment cost needed to function in this section of the gaming industry does loads to offset the higher tax percentages.

It should come as no surprise that the proposed 2023 session bill 1536 implemented a 20% rate, and the one the year before, Bill 1356, featured an 18% rate.

iGaming Becoming a Reality in Indiana Soon is Unlikely

That largely stems from the Sean Eberhart scandal that saw its resolution in November of last year, when this Indiana's Republican House of Representatives member accepted a guilty plea agreement that produced a forty-six-month sentence for the Shelbyville-born politician, who admitted to agreeing to help push through third-party legislative interests (Spectacle Entertainment) for future potential employment in the gambling industry. The legislation that Eberhart supported revolved around lowering gaming venue moving fees.

Eberhart's plea came three years after Brent Waltz, a 36th Senate member, admitted getting illegal campaign donations totaling $40,500 towards his congressional campaign from Indiana casino company, New Centaur LLC. Waltz lied to the FBI about the nature of his campaign contributions, intentionally mislabeling them, which led to him receiving a ten-month federal prison sentence.

According to Indiana lawmaker and House Speaker - Todd Huston, these two incidents have caused sizeable harm to the state's legislative process and diminished citizens' trust and confidence in it. On account of these, Eberhart's kickback scandal in particular, lawmakers have decided that it may be best to pause further iGaming legislation for now.

That said, 23rd House District representative Ethan Manning of the Republican party, who introduced House Bill 1536, among others, is hopeful that online casino betting is not off the table for 2025 and that Spectrum Gaming's estimates will help convince lawmakers that allowing this pastime in Indiana is the best course of action for everyone.

Ashley Grace

Ashley Grasse is a research writer and casino entertainment expert. She's interested in game theory and strategy. Ashley writes online casino reviews and blogs about trending topics in the gambling industry. In the years she's been writing at OUSC, she's earned a reputation for her deep dives and thorough research. You can also find very quirky and entertaining pieces authored by Ashley.

She loves to the outdoors hiking, kayaking, and a good slot experience in Las Vegas.

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