Indiana ramps up sports betting drive

By Robert Simmons
Legislators in the US state of Indiana will soon consider a bill which will see sports betting legalised in the state, pending the outcome of the Supreme Court review into New Jersey’s sports betting appeal.

Senate Bill 405, introduced by Indiana state senator Jon Ford would see all money wagers in the state include a fee which would be paid to sports leagues and associations, to aid them in combating match fixing and integrity related issues. A copy of the bill was obtained by the Legal Sports Report website.

Under the proposals, a tax of 9.25% on sports betting revenue will be introduced on all bets, with sports betting operators being allowed to deduct the so called ‘integrity fee’ from their gross revenue before tax.

An almost identical bill was proposed in the House of Representatives earlier this week by Representative Alan Morrison, but House Bill 1325 makes no mention of the integrity fee.

Senate Bill 405 states that all sports betting instruments must first be approved by the Indiana Gaming Commission before they can be rolled out in the state.

In addition any operator who wished to offer sports betting would have to pay an initial fee of at least 1% of their annual gross receipts up to a maximum fee of $500,000 to the respective sporting organisation to be able to place wagers on that organisation's events.

Any operator who did so would also have to pay an annual administrative fee of $75,000 after the first year of operation.

In a departure from the norm, sports leagues and associations would also be able to limit wagering on sporting events by “providing notice in the form and manner required by the commission. The restrictions or limits may include restrictions on the sources of data and associated video upon which an operator may rely in offering and paying wagers and the bet types that may be offered.”

No explicit mention is made of which specific organisations or sports associations which can limit wagering.

Speaking about House Bill 1325, American Gaming Association CEO and President Geoff Freeman said in a statement that :“While we applaud Representative Morrison’s efforts to bring legal, transparent sports betting to Indiana, handing sports leagues 20% of what's left over after winnings are paid out, undercuts its economic viability. Doing so will ensure the illegal market continues to thrive in the state, and gut the tax revenues available to fund essential public services. We believe Indiana taxpayers deserve better.

“We encourage Indiana to reject this short-sighted, misinformed idea, which simply replaces a failed federal prohibition with bad state policy.”


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