State Senator Jon Ford (R-Terre Haute) introduced Senate Bill 417, which would give Indiana’s 14 casinos and racinos the opportunity to run online gaming. The properties would have to apply for an internet gaming license.
Ford represents a district with a planned casino scheduled to open next year.
Only five states currently offer legalized online gaming -- Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia -- Michigan will become the sixth when it launches later this month.
Many state legislatures have been hesitant to propose bills related to online gaming and particularly online poker because of a pending court decision surrounding the Federal Wire Act.
In 2011 the US Department of Justice reinterpreted the Wire Act as applicable to sports betting but not online gaming. This opened the door for states to regulate online gaming.
However, in 2018 a new DOJ ruling reversed the 2011 decision, arguing that the Wire Act does apply to online gaming. The New Hampshire Lottery Commission filed a suit against the DOJ’s reversal and the case is still pending.
President-elect Joe Biden has said on the record that he’s in favor of the 2011 interpretation, which would indicate that the incoming DOJ would give up its arguments for a tighter Wire Act. Feasibly this would allow states to legalize online gaming without fear of being overruled at the federal level.