Online Poker and Gambling Laws in Indiana
2021 Update: Is Online Poker Legal in Indiana?
No, there’s no online poker legislation in Indiana yet, but things are starting to look up. Indian has historically been a conservative state and online gaming faced opposition from a number of different actors in the state. This included former Gov. Mike Pence, who opposed gaming expansion in the state. But Pence has been out for a while and things are starting to look up for the Hoosier state.
When a Supreme Court case paved the way for states to start legalizing sports betting in 2018. Indiana became the 13th state to legalize sports betting after Gov. Eric Holcomb signed the bill on May 8, 2019. It took a few months, but the first sportsbook in Indiana then Opened up on September 1. Sports betting has been growing ever since and in late July Unibet became the most recent sports betting operator to open in the state.
There are still no online poker operators in the state, but sports betting is a good sign the state is receptive to opening up their gambling laws. Several states that have legalized sports betting have also legalized online poker. If there are any inklings that Indiana will be next, we’ll update you here.
Online Poker and Gambling Laws in Indiana
While Indiana has tended to be a conservative state when it comes to gambling, it’s been opening up recently. You can bet on horse races, buy lottery tickets and play on riverboat casinos, but there are other forms of gambling you can’t participate in Indiana. The state covers gambling under the Indiana State Statutes.
In Section 35-45-5-1 et seq., the state defines what gambling is. It defies it as:
“Risking money or other property for gain, contingent upon lot, chance, or the operation of a gambling device.”
The definition of gambling is the most basic starting point for any gambling law. It’s what separates it from everything else. Here we see that Indiana uses two key points to define gambling. One is the value of money or property gain, so freerolls and free gambling would be allowed. The next major element is “contingent upon lot, chance” this is important because a federal judge ruled poker to be a game of skill in 2012. This paved the way for states to start legislating online poker. But here we see the additional caveats include poker.
Can I Play Online Poker on PokerStars in Indiana?
Nope. You can’t play PokerStars in Indiana just yet. There was a time, back before 2011, where you could play on PokerStars all throughout the United States, including Indiana. But a Department of Justice investigation led to PokerStars and a few other sites being blacklisted from the United States for a while.
That legal case has since been settled and PokerStars made it through the flames. Now it’s slowly making its way back into the United States. Currently, only New Jersey and Pennsylvania have given PokerStars a license to operate again. These are segregated sites though and smaller versions of the PokerStars you might remember.
Luckily there are a few sites that accept players from all 50 states and have emerged as good PokerStars alternatives for poker players in Indiana. Sites like Ignition Poker, BetOnline and Bovada have great sign-up bonuses and promotions, large tournament guarantees and great cash games. If you want to read more about these sites, just read our full reviews below:
Can I Gamble Legally in Indiana?
Yes! While you can’t play on PokerStars in Indiana there are still a few options for Hoosiers looking to gamble. There are a few casino variants in the state as well as horse racing and a state lottery.
Indiana has a number of different casinos. It has one Native American, the Four Winds South Bend Casino run by the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians. There are two racinos in the state was well as three other land-based casinos. The most common type of casinos in Indiana are riverboat casinos. There are eight scattered along Lake Michigan and the Ohio River.
Lotteries were originally banned in the Indiana Constitution, but that was back in 1851. It took a few hundred years for voters to approve a constitutional amendment to overturn it. The Hoosier Lottery started in 1989 and it’s grown every year since then. The Hoosier Lottery now offers an assortment of games and set a record $1.12 billion in revenue in 2019.
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