Over the last two years, dozens of countries and a handful of states have profited from the boom that online gaming has experienced.
In 2022, it seems that Indiana will be next to reap the same rewards as the Indiana General Assembly has moved forward on two House bills directed at online gaming. Called HB 1137 and HB 1356, both bills aim to introduce measures that will regulate and legalize online casinos in the state. This initiative signals another green light for online gaming, specifically poker, in Indiana.
This isn’t the first time that Indiana has been at the forefront of legalizing online poker, either. In 2021, Senator Jon Ford introduced SB 417 which aimed to legalize the online operations of land-based casino games. This bill included poker which, as of writing, is only regulated in physical locations across the Hoosier State.
Poker in Indiana
Currently, poker already has a significant presence in Indiana. Recent tallies show that poker is allowed in all 13 of the state’s casinos. Some reports even say that there are more than 130 poker tables and 10 live poker rooms presently operational. A couple of tables are available at the Belterra Casino Resort, which we’ve also named as one of the perfect winter destinations. Similar to other Indiana poker rooms, Belterra offers players a choice of Texas Hold’em, Razz, Omaha, and Stud.
As a further testament to poker’s popularity in the state, in 2021, Caesars Entertainment, Inc., invested almost $33 million in the Indiana Grand Racing and Casino. Dedicated to expanding and enhancing the current casino floor, the project notably featured a new WSOP Poker Room. Named after the iconic World Series of Poker, the poker room was designed with 20 luxurious tables outfitted to meet professional poker standards. The tables in this room even offer unique qualification pathways that poker players can take if they wish to join land-based poker tourneys. This includes the legendary Main Event hosted annually in Las Vegas.
Why Online Poker Can Be Indiana’s Ace
Some may ask what is the need for online poker given that its physical counterpart is already flourishing in Indiana? The answer is simply that online poker, once legalized can stimulate the state’s economy and employment rate. For starters, because there are only a limited number of states that have legalized online poker, avid online poker players from around the country flock to these destinations. These states—like Nevada, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania—are able to enjoy millions in tourist business yearly as countless players visit to play online poker legally. Because these states also legally recognize online poker, renowned organizations like WSOP, BetMGM, and PokerStars have also brought their operations to the locations, thereby adding credibility for poker tourists.
All in all, this influx of players can drastically boost a state’s local revenue. As seen in Michigan, the latest state to legalize online poker, after a single year of legal online gaming, state revenue jumped to $1.4 billion. This was also largely due to the internet gaming taxes and fees that site operators must pay each state they operate in. Given that Indiana already makes about $2.3 million in taxes annually for online sports betting, this amount can greatly multiply since the aforementioned online poker bills propose an 18% operational tax. While we have yet to hear further updates from local representatives since January, the evidence strongly suggests that online poker is worth going all in for in the Hoosier State.
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