Indiana Makes Progress With Betting Bill

Jake Cooper | 30 Jan 2018

Indiana Makes Progress With Betting BillWhile the global gambling industry is waiting for the US Supreme Court’s final ruling that may legalise sports betting in New Jersey, several other American states like Indiana, and even some sports leagues, are making progress of their own.

Now, new legislation in Indiana has also given the world a glimpse of what major sports leagues expect from state-run betting markets. Furthermore, the proposed laws also highlight a divide in how other large-scale American sports leagues are preparing for their looming future of betting.

So far, it is known that the Indiana House Bill 1325 has involved both the MLB and NBA sports leagues. These leagues’ lobbying efforts in the state are expected to prompt other states to poise themselves for legalised betting, but for now, only these two professional sports organisations are covered by the bill.

MLB and NBA Getting Involved

The leagues have hired San Francisco law agency Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe to head up their efforts. The law firm previously managed efforts by DFS operators FanDuel and DraftKings, which culminated in 20 states passing new laws that legalised daily fantasy sports in the space of just two years.

The upcoming Supreme Court hearing will determine how legalised sports gambling will move forward in the US. The NHL, NFL and NCAA have kept quite on the matter thus far, despite all five aforementioned leagues having sued New Jersey back in 2014 as Gov. Chris Christie attempted to bolster casino revenues by allowing Vegas-style sports betting activities.

The case, which was centred on the PASPA Act of 1992, was the focus of this case, and now the Indiana House Bill 1325 is aiming to legalise betting at all of the state’s racing casinos, riverboats, and even satellite gaming facilities. Indiana has become the first state to publicly work alongside sports leagues in its efforts, which would give these leagues the power to restrict wagers on sports events to maintain the integrity of their competitions.

Operators Dispute Integrity Tax

The leagues would also be paid a 1% quarterly integrity fee from operators, based on the amount of money wagered on any sports events. However, this notion has been heavily criticised by the gambling industry, which has noted that the leagues’ opportunities to profit from sports betting will be increased by advertising, fan engagement and many other channels.

The Indiana HB 1325 bill seemingly has a tough road ahead, although its sponsor Alan Morrison is confident that having the NBA and MLB involved will help. On the other hand, the Division I Athletic Directors Association’s president and CEO Tom McMillen has revealed that as many as 80% of the Association’s members are against the bill, instead favouring State Senator Jon Ford’s own proposed betting bill that foes not include league integrity fees.

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