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Sports betting in Indiana could arrive soon, lawmaker says

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indiana is a step closer to legal sports betting.

State lawmakers have decided to discuss the idea during a summer study commission over the next few months. 

State Rep. Alan Morrison said Tuesday he believes you could legally bet on sports in Indiana sooner than you think.

The Republican from Brazil, Indiana, tried last session, but his sports betting bill didn’t get a hearing. Morrison said he and State Rep. Jon Ford, a Terre Haute Republican, are trying again.

Morrison said, “What we’re trying to do is put together something that is good for Indiana, good for Hoosiers.” 

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Morrison said he plans on his bill covering game integrity so people who bet know the game they’re betting on is legit. His bill would also allow mobile sports betting.

“It would be pretty important, moving forward with this, that we recognize the importance of mobile gaming and how it could really increase the revenue. Not only back to the state, but more importantly, back to our different (gaming) properties,” Morrison said. 

In May, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal law that bars gambling on football, basketball, baseball and other sports.

According to Morrison, the Indiana Gaming Commission paid a California gaming research consulting firm about $75,000 for a two-year research study. 

Morrison said, “It seems to me the goal of this report they’re going to put together will be to give us more data on what we can expect revenue-wise.”

Morrison said he thinks sports betting could be a big win for Indiana. 

“I would say it would be in the millions back to the state, but to put an exact dollar figure on that would be pretty impossible right now,” Morrison said. 

Morrison said he is confident he will have bipartisan support for a measure to open Indiana to sports betting. 

But, legalizing sports betting in Indiana is not without controversy. The Indiana Council on
Problem Gambling Inc.
had said it believes sports betting could open to door to issues for people with gambling problems.

Christina Gray, the executive director of the group acting as an advocate and a resource for problem gamblers and their families, said in a statement: 

“I have not seen what the contract is or what the company is going to be doing. I’m anxious to see it. I think any time a study is done on gambling or any kind of betting is a good thing and I think it is something that is very much needed. Given that sports betting has only been legal in Nevada for so long, we have no idea how it’ll effect the rest of the states. To study how it’ll affect adults in Indiana, is a good thing. I think it’s great that they’re doing the study.  Given the two-year period, I wonder if they will study the effects. The more information and data we can get the more help we can be to let people know about problem gambling or reach them.”

The executive director of the Indiana Gaming Commission, Sara Gonso Tait, also issued a statement:

“The Commission’s goal is to provide independent research that will aid decision makers as they consider sports wagering legislation. Eilers has conducted a similar study for the West Virginia regulators and we anticipate that Indiana’s report will be similar and hope that it will be completed in time for the interim study committee meetings. “

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