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Indiana House Backs Bill Prohibiting Online Sports Betting

Statehouse

(Lauren Chapman)

The question of whether Indiana will allow sports betting by mobile devices is still up for debate in the state Legislature.

The Indiana House voted 78-15 Monday in favor of a bill that includes limiting the legalization of sports wagering to casino sites. The state Senate previously supported permitting online sports betting , so lawmakers face a deadline later this month for reaching agreement on what to allow.

Some House members who oppose allowing sports bets by mobile devices call it a significant expansion of gambling that could lead to traditional casino games moving online.

Republican Rep. Alan Morrison (R-Brazil) argued Monday that limiting sports betting to casinos will mean a big loss in tax revenue.

"I do believe that we’re missing a major component of it. And that’s the mobile part,” Morrison says.

He says by not including mobile betting, Indiana falls behind the other eight states that have already legalized sports betting.

Rep. Carolyn Jackson (D-Hammond) says her city and East Chicago have been hurt by the gaming industry in Gary – and communities like hers need more protection.

“While I would definitely like to see Gary prosper, but not at the backs of East Chicago and Hammond,” Jackson says.

Other legislators focused on the risks of not passing gaming legislation. Rep. Terri Austin (D-Anderson) says the state stands to lose out on an estimated $300 million dollars of illegal sports betting, without the state gaining the benefits of taxation.

“If we kill this bill today, we have no chance to manage sports betting,” Austin says.

Gaming is the fourth largest source of revenue for the state.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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