A bill to legalize sports betting in Indiana was signed into law by Gov. Eric Holcomb on Wednesday. The bill contains legislation that will in all likelihood considerably shake up other aspects of the state’s gaming industry.
The push by Indiana lawmakers to legalize sports betting in the state garnered much of the attention during the state’s 2019 legislative session, an effort that culminated with a bill to legalize wagering on sports passing the General Assembly on April 24.
The legislation within HB 1015 goes beyond individuals being able to wager on sports at sportsbooks in Indiana.
It also includes a proposed construction of a new casino in the state, modifying the cap on the number of casinos and racinos a single company can control at one time, and subsidies that would go to cities effected by a casino relocating.
Presently, Spectacle Entertainment is seeking to shift one of the two gaming licenses for the Majestic Star Casino boats it is purchasing to a new casino the company would build in Gary.
With HB 1015 signed into law, it requires that Spectacle Entertainment spend a minimum of $150 million on constructing the new casino in Gary and pay the state $20 million to approve the move. The company has already proposed spending upward of $300 million on the project that would include a casino and hotel.
If the project to construct a casino in Gary happens and Spectacle Entertainment consolidates its two gaming licenses into one, a clause is triggered where the city of Terre Haute has the option to decide whether to build a casino within its city limits.
That decision requires voters in Vigo County, where Terre Haute resides, to approve a referendum supporting a proposed casino. Were this to occur, any company wanting to operate the Terre Haute casino would have to pay a $5 million licensing fee.
All proposals to obtain the license would be submitted to the Indiana Gaming Commission, the decision maker on which company would be selected. HB 1015 stipulates that a casino operator commit a minimum of $100 million to building the gaming facility.
Spectacle Entertainment, which had sought to transfer one of its gaming licenses to a proposed casino in Terre Haute, can submit a bid to the IGC to obtain a license if Terre Haute does elect to move forward with plans to build a the casino.
However, if Spectacle Entertainment does not move forward with its casino project in Gary, Terre Haute is not permitted to pursue its own plans to build a casino. Regardless of how events play and which cities end up with casinos, Indiana will continue to have a total of two horse tracks and 12 casinos.
As gaming licenses potentially shift from one city to another, HB 1015 stipulates that subsidies will go to the cities of East Chicago, Evansville, French Lick, Hammond and Michigan City if they are negatively impacted.
HB 1015 also amends the limit on how many gaming licenses an individual or company can control. The cap is currently set at one license per an individual or two licenses per a company, which will thusly be changed to as many as six licenses per entity.