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Indiana closes in on legalised sports betting after committee approval

Indiana
IT’S almost time for Indiana to join in on the party.

The US state could join several of its neighbours around the country in legalising sports betting after a public policy committee recommended the change this week.

The Interim Study Committee on Public Policy voted to recommend introducing legislation that would make legal sports betting a reality. The move follows a US Supreme Court decision to strike down a federal wagering ban in May — a move that has since seen a number of states, led by New Jersey, profit from a new industry.

While there were fears expressed about the regulation of online gambling, Indiana Gaming Commission Executive Director Sara Tait said the state would be able to use the framework adopted by other states.

“Sports betting is something that has been successfully regulated (elsewhere) for years, so we’re not going to have to reinvent the wheel,” Tait said.

Before arriving at its decision, the Interim Study Committee on Public Policy hired a consultant to study sports betting. That study found that officials need to act quickly if it’s going to prevent an illegal gambling market from establishing its roots.

“On balance, we believe the risks associated with delaying sports betting beyond the 2019 (legislative) session clearly outweigh the rewards,” the report said.

The report also recommends introducing the framework for betting on mobile and smart phones while warning against setting taxes too high.

Indiana could see sports betting return $256 million in five years, which would add about $38 million in annual state tax revenue.

Nevada has had sports betting since 1931. Delaware, New Jersey, West Virginia, Mississippi and New Mexico have come on board since the Supreme Court’s decision in May.