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Online Gambling in Indiana: an Expert Guide

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Gambling in Indiana

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Our Guide to Online Gambling in Indiana

Indiana gambling laws are both robust and reasonable. While the state legalized most forms of brick-and-mortar gambling over the years, it has well-defined limitations to legal gambling and just punishments for those who break the laws. While casino gambling and pari-mutuel wagers are allowed, the Indiana Gaming Commission has assured that the number of casinos, racetracks, and OTBs are strictly limited.

Like most individual US states, Indiana has never legalized, regulated, licensed, and taxed online casinos and poker sites. With a coming battle between states that support online gambling — New HampshireNew Jersey, and Pennsylvania — and the US federal government, Indiana is unlikely to considered online gambling in the near future.

2020's Best Online Gambling Sites for Indiana Players

We’ve listed our favorite casinos, sportsbooks and poker sites accepting players from Indiana below. Pick a site and start playing!

Indiana Online Gambling Law FAQs

Indiana Online Gambling Law

Indiana state gambling laws are middle-of-the-road for US states. The ages people can gamble are the norm for most states, while charitable gambling and pari-mutuel wagering is standard. Lotteries were embraced about the average time for states (1990 in a range between 1970 and 2010), while Mega Millions was embraced the year most states signed on (2010). Most of the laws were written to cater to the riverboat casino gambling industry.

Latest Rulings

Indiana lawmakers passed a legal sports betting bill on August 31, 2019. By September 19, 13 different land-based gambling venues opened sportsbooks.

The list of sportsbook operators are: Horseshoe Hammond Casino, Tropicana Evansville Casino, Ameristar Casino in East Chicago, Harrah’s Hoosier Park in Anderson, French Lick Casino in French Lick, Indiana Grand Casino in Shelbyville, Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City, Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg, Belterra Casino in Florence, and Horseshoe Southern Casino in Elizabeth.

Also, the various Winner’s Circle locations in Downtown Indianapolis, New Haven, and Clarksville also have bookmaker bets. As of late-2019, Rising Star Casino in Rising Star and Majestic Star Casino in Gary have sports bets, but were not licensed yet.

Relevant state code: Section 35-45-5-1

Section 35-45-5-1(d)

“Gambling” means risking money or other property for gain, contingent in whole or in part upon lot, chance, or the operation of a gambling device.”

Indiana’s definition of gambling is straightforward: risking money or property for gain. Indiana’s laws are similar to and influenced by its neighbor, Illinois, as wagering is the main problem gamblers have under the law. If you are wagering in an unregulated environment, your wager is illegal. Gamblers will be charged with a misdemeanor for illegal gambling.

Indiana state troopers sometimes have been known to raid poker clubs. Organizing illegal poker clubs is considered a felony. So is assisting in the operation of an illegal poker club, or promoting such activity.

Riverboat Gambling’s Influence on Indiana Gaming Laws

Originally, Indiana gambling laws hearkened back to 19th century riverboat gambling.

The state law called for riverboat casinos to “fairly replicate nineteenth century Indiana steamboat passenger vessels”, so they could not host gambling when they were moored to the land. Over time, all Indiana riverboat casinos became moored to the land. They would be in Lake Michigan or an Indiana river, but guests could walk onto the boat and never really leave the land. The Buffington Harbor amendment could change all of that in the near future, though.

IS GAMBLING LEGAL IN THE STATE OF INDIANA?

Most land-based forms of gambling are legal in Indiana.

The state has a respectable number of land-based casinos and a couple of racinos. The state lottery is well-established, while both multistate lottery associations are active in Indiana.

Charitable gambling organizations have a wide variety of games they offer. The Senate Enrolled Act 134 established several levels of approved charitable gambling events, depending on the prize money handed out at each event. Organizations can host special charitable raffles, door prize events, and progressive bingo events which exceed the normal limits once or twice a year. Read our section on the Indiana bingo laws to see a full rundown of the charitable gaming types.

INDIANA ONLINE POKER LAWS

Online poker is not legalized and regulated in Indiana. The industry exists in a legal gray area, where the state has neither legalized or strictly banned online gambling.

In the absence of regulations, it would be considered illegal to play at an online cardroom or casino. At the same time, Indiana authorities have never prosecuted an individual for online poker room or casino betting. Anyone operating such a site would be subject to the full measure of the law against illegal gambling operators.

No lawmakers have introduced an online poker bill to the Indiana legislature since the 2011 DOJ opinion which said states could do so. Given the fact the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel recently said interstate online poker and online casinos are now violations of federal law under the terms of the 1961 Federal Wire Act, no one should expect to see Indiana change its law anytime soon. Joining the Multi-State Internet Gambling Association (MSIGA), better known as the interstate poker pact, would be one major advantage of legalizing online poker. Until lawsuits against the DOJ play out, the MSIGA is a dead letter for the time being.

DOES INDIANA HAVE LAND-BASED CASINOS?

Yes. Indiana has 12 land-based casinos, along with 2 racetrack-casinos which are listed below. Indiana’s casino list includes famous local groups like Majestic Star and Ameristar, along with Horseshoe Casinos owned by national casino brand Caesars Entertainment

Indiana’s casinos traditionally have been riverboat casinos, but a new initiative could see the casinos move inland.

At the moment, Gary residents want to transform Buffington Harbor into a transport facility. If that happens, Majestic Star will need to move its Gary-based casinos inland. Some plans have the casinos moving somewhere else in the Gary vicinity, but across towns. Other plans have at least one Majestic Star casino moving halfway across the state. State Sen. Ron Alting, chairman of the Senate Public Policy Committee, said a casino might move as far away as Terra Haute.

Caesars Entertainment’s Horseshoe Casino opposes the move, saying it would bring instability and uncertainty into the Indiana gaming sector. Most believe Horseshoe is concerned about competition moving into their part of the state. Readers might wonder why a Gary, Indiana casino would want to move from the Chicago suburbs to areas in the middle of Indiana. They have to remember that Chicago-area politicians and Illinois lawmakers have a longstanding dream of building land-based casinos in the Illinois suburbs of Chicago, so Majestic Star might have competition coming in the next few years if it stays in Gary.

In either case, it would be a radical departure for Indiana gaming. Ameristar in East Chicago also might ask for a move.

DOES INDIANA HAVE ANY LEGAL BETTING TRACKS / SHOPS?

Yes, Indiana has two racetrack-casinos or racinos

These are Hoosier Park Racing & Casino in Anderson and Indiana Grand Racing & Casino in Shelbyville. Here’s the full information for Hoosier Park and Grand Racing.

DOES INDIANA ALLOW OFF-TRACK BETTING?

Yes, Indiana has off-track betting, including facilities in Indianapolis, Clarksville, Shelbyville, and New Haven.

DOES INDIANA ALLOW CHARITABLE GAMBLING?

Charitable gaming is allowed under Senate Enrolled Act 134, which can be found under the Indiana Code 4-32.2. License holders must receive a license renewal annually. This allows them to conduct bingo events, raffle drawings, door prize draws, and hold events with pull-tabs, punchboards, and tip boards.

The payout limit on a single bingo game is $1,000. On a progressive bingo game, the payout limit is $2,000. For a single bingo event, the payout is $6,000. A qualified organization may request of the Gaming Commission the right to increase their bingo prizes from $6000 to $10,000 twice per year.

The total of all raffle prizes must not exceed $5,000. A qualified organization can request special permission for a raffle prize payout of $25,000 once per year. Door prizes cannot exceed $1,500.

All charitable organizations can conduct up to three events per calendar week, but cannot conduct games more than 2 consecutive days in a row. Also, the organization cannot hold more than one event on any given day.

IS SOCIAL GAMING ALLOWED IN INDIANA?

Social card games exist in a legal gray area.

State troopers have raided poker clubs in the past. If your private poker game charges a fee or collects a poker rake, it is illegal and you should stop it. Those who gamble for small amounts without the organizer seeking a profit are probably safe, but card players should research the local statutes and local authorities to see if gaming laws are strictly enforced in their area.

Online social casinos are legal in Indiana. Companies like Zynga, Double Down Casino, and Slotomania are available for free play on Facebook and other social media sites, while each has a mobile gaming app for freeplay gaming. Big Fish Games is facing lawsuits in Washington State, but has never faced a lawsuit in Indiana. MyVegas and Play4Fun, the respective free-play casinos sites of MGM Resorts and Mohegan Sun, are available for free casino gaming.

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