Indiana residents can legally wager on the Pacers, Colts, and other sports through the gambling bill approved by the Senate Tuesday. Also, the bill allows two floating casinos to move inland. After the approval, Senate Bill 552 will now head to the House.
Senators said SB 552 doesn’t expand gambling in the state. Instead, they said it offers the opportunity to use existing assets of the state. With the wording, the bill becomes less controversial.
Although the bill got the approval of the Senate through a 38-11 vote, House Speaker Brian Bosma said he will amend some of its provisions. In fact, he was surprised that state senators accepted the bill as is.
Controversy Surrounding Gambling Bill
SB 552 allows two riverboat casinos to relocate on dry land. In addition, the state already authorized land-based casinos in 2015. However, some lawmakers think that the casinos should remain near their original locations.
Through the new gambling bill, Majestic Star I and Majestic Star II can move from Lake Michigan to Gary and Terre Haute. According to critics, gambling expansions require a new license. For them, the provisions should not be part of the legislation.
SB 552 also creates a bidding process for the transfer of a casino to Terre Haute. As a result, Full House Resorts, owner of the Rising Star Casino, can construct a casino in Terre Haute. The city supports having a casino in their jurisdiction. In fact, they don’t care who develops it as long as they benefit from the revenue and jobs it generates.
The bad news is that sports betting provisions of SB 552 will find a lot of resistance in the House. They are more likely to be scrapped to ensure the bill goes through Congress. The good news is that House Bill 1363 is still waiting for approval. It is the best chance for some Indiana residents to fulfill their wish of becoming a bookie.