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Indiana lawmaker talks of sports betting

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Betting money in Indiana on the Colts or the Pacers could become more than just a talker next year.

Some lawmakers are gearing up to make it a reality in the next legislative session.

State Sen. Jon. Ford said Wednesday he believes we’re closer to legal sports betting in Indiana.

“Try to bring some of the black market betting we know is going on,” the Republican from Terre Haute said. “They say it’s about a $300 million illegal sports betting market here in Indiana. Bring that into a regulated industry, so we can take some of that element off the street.” 

In October, state lawmakers voted unanimously in a summer study committee to recommend legalizing sports betting during the next legislative session.

In May, the U.S. Supreme Court gave states the green light to allow it.

“It’s to help our casinos continue to be competitive,” Ford said.

It’s a bet Ford’s willing to make.

“There will be a lot of sports you’ll be able to bet on, from auto racing to basketball, but at a professional level,” Ford said.

Even the Colts and the Pacers?

“Right,” Ford said.

What about college sports?

“College sports, you will be able to bet on.” Ford said.

Sara Tate, executive director of the Indiana Gaming Commission, said, “We’ve been watching it, developing an expertise and learning. So, in the event the law does pass, we’re ready to go.” 

Tate said the state spent about $75,000 on a gaming research study earlier this year.

The report estimated that by Year 5, total annual revenue generated from sports betting could equal $256 million, total taxes and fees to the state of $87 million.” Tate said.

House Speaker Brian Bosma weighed in Wednesday when asked. “I have not made up my mind on it. We’ll just have to see.” 

Ford said he’s working with Republican state Rep. Alan Morrison of Terre Haute. They both will have sports betting bills. Ford said he’s hopeful his bill will pass.