Indiana Senator Pushes for Online Casino Gambling as Oregon, Illinois Lawmakers Back New Sports Betting Bills

  • Legislators have backed new bills in three states which would change current gambling law
  • Indiana's online casino bill would allow land-based casinos three skins with online operators
  • New sports betting legislation would end the Oregon Lottery's monopoly over the online market
  • Illinois lawmaker Mike Zalewski aims to legalize collegiate betting through the proposed HB 5876
judge's gavel, Ace cards, poker chips, and US dollar bills with laptop in background
A state senator has introduced a new Indiana online casino bill, while lawmakers in Oregon and Illinois are attempting to pass sports betting legislation. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Three bills for three states

Lawmakers in Indiana, Oregon, and Illinois have backed bills in their respective states which, if passed, would alter gambling legislation in the regions.

In Indiana, Senator Jon Ford introduced Senate Bill 417 this week with the aim of legalizing online casino betting. If made law, the measure would permit casinos and racinos to offer online casino games and online poker in the Hoosier State.

proposed legislation would legalize statewide retail and online sports betting in the Beaver State

Meanwhile, Oregon Governor Kate Brown pre-filed HB 2127 on January 11. The proposed legislation would legalize statewide retail and online sports betting in the Beaver State, appointing the Oregon Racing Commission as the market’s regulator.

Finally, Illinois lawmaker Mike Zalewski is aiming to legalize sports wagering on state collegiate events. The state representative filed HB 5876 on January 9, which would amend Illinois’s Sports Wagering Act of 2019.

Senator paves way for Indiana online casino

Indiana has boasted an online sports betting market since October 2019. However, the state took its first steps towards legalizing online casino wagering only this week.

On Monday, Senator Jon Ford introduced a new bill which would allow the state’s 14 casinos and racinos to apply for an online casino license. The operations would then be able to offer both online casino and poker gambling.

legislation would permit land-based properties three skins with online casino operators

Casinos would pay an initial fee of $500,000 for an online casino license, which would be renewable each year for a fee of $50,000. The legislation would permit land-based properties three skins with online casino operators. William Hill, Caesars Entertainment, and 888 Holdings already have partnerships with Indiana casinos for mobile sports wagering, among others.

The Senate Public Policy Committee will discuss Ford’s online casino legislation later this month. A legal online casino market could generate $65m to $80m in Indiana tax revenue per year, according to the senator.

Oregon shoots for competitive sports betting

Since launching its Scoreboard mobile app in October 2019, the Oregon Lottery has held a monopoly over the state’s online sports wagering market. Meanwhile, in-person wagering is only available via two tribal casinos. Gov. Kate Brown’s pre-filing of new sports betting legislation on Monday attempts to open up the current market.

The state-run Oregon Lottery had a successful start after seeing more than $4.5m wagers placed in its first two weeks. However, it racked up almost $2m worth of net losses in the market’s first six months, despite net revenue totaling nearly $6m. This is due in part to the lottery’s supply deal with SBTech. The state reportedly paid SBTech at least $2.9m for the use of its platform as per the partnership contract terms during this period.

In addition to appointing the Oregon Racing Commission as regulator, HB 2127 would set an annual license fee of $50,000. There would be no limit for the number of online or retail sports wagering licenses that can be granted. The bill would also require licensees to use official league data to grade in-play wagers, and would lower the legal age for betting from 21 to 18 years.

Legislators will discuss HB 2127 during the state’s legislative session from January 19 to June 30. If passed, the bill outlines plans for a January 1, 2022 launch. 

Illinois seeks to broaden options

Bill HB 5876, introduced by Illinois state lawmaker Mike Zalewski on Saturday, looks to amend legislation which legalized retail and online sports betting in 2019. If approved, the new bill would also legalize betting on collegiate sporting events, which is prohibited under current law.

new bill would also legalize betting on collegiate sporting events, which is prohibited

Illinois lawmakers will discuss the bill during legislative sessions from January 14 to March 16, and it is likely that they could pass the bill before March Madness. However, if Zalewski does not get approval before the 102nd General Assembly’s swearing in, he will need to re-file the legislation. Both the House and Senate must approve the bill before it can become law.

Zalewski was a main proponent for Illinois’s Sports Wagering Act of 2019, which saw bettors place the state’s first sports bets on March 9 last year. Total 2020 sports betting handle was $941.7m through to October. Online activity was the dominant factor, contributing $873.7m.