Indiana Gambling Laws


Posted: March 31, 2016

Updated: March 31, 2016

Indiana was the second state to regulate Daily Fantasy Sports in the US. However, this progressive attitude is not reflected in other Indiana gambling laws.

Indiana gambling laws

Gambling in Indiana is an illegal activity, with some exceptions. Most of the related laws can be found in the Indiana Code. Indiana gambling laws define gambling as “risking money or other property for gain, contingent in whole or in part upon lot, chance, or the operation of a gambling device.” Furthermore, “a card game or an electronic version of a card game is a game of chance and may not be considered a bona fide contest of skill.” Therefore, poker and other card games are considered illegal if played for money.

Intentionally engaging in illegal gambling in Indiana equals a Class B misdemeanor. A Class B misdemeanor might result in 180 days of jail time and up to USD 1,000 fine. The Gaming Control Division of Indiana encourages all citizens to report illegal gambling on their website or by phone.

Does this mean that you can’t gamble in Indiana at all? As in the case of many other states, the answer is no. Indiana gambling laws allow for riverboat casinos and numerous racinos around the state. The types of games allowed at these licensed venues varies. Riverboat casinos offer all kinds of table games and even slots.

Racinos offer pari-mutuel betting and slots. It’s important to note that the only legal way to bet on horses is in person at racetracks or licensed off-track facilities. Charity bingo games are also legal if arranged by nonprofit organizations that have acquired a license.

Other forms of sports betting in Indiana are prohibited. “It is illegal to place bets with a sports bookie,” clarifies the Gaming Control Division. They warn against Facebook games as well, saying that if the outcome of such games depends on chance and the player has to pay to participate, it is constituting illegal gambling. However, games that cost money but don’t offer monetary reward are legal.

Online Gambling in Indiana

Most US gambling laws don’t explicitly mention or define online gambling. However, even in such cases, playing at internet casinos is considered unlawful. Indiana is one of the few states with specific laws on the matter of online gambling.

Generally, the operators are in the spotlight of Indiana online gambling laws. However, the Gaming Control Division has made it perfectly clear that “gambling over the internet is illegal.” Therefore, players should not fall for sites that offer “legit Indiana online casinos” or sports betting for those residing in the state.

Lotteries in Indiana

The immediate success of the Indiana lottery was the inspiration for the relaxation of Indiana gambling laws. The official lottery of Indiana was named Hoosier Lottery, based on the state’s nickname. The Hoosier Lottery was established in 1988, after a referendum approving it by 62% majority. Now, Indianans can play multi-state lottery games as well, such as Powerball and Mega Millions.

The Lottery proceeds go to the Indiana Police and Firefighters, the Teachers’ Retirement Fund and the Build Indiana Fund. In 2015, these proceeds totaled USD 242,458,988. There’s no way to buy Hoosier Lottery tickets online; however, the official lottery app makes it much easier to purchase tickets at land-based retailers.

The free Hoosier Lottery App can be downloaded free of charge from the App Store or Google Play. By using it, players can save their favorite numbers and build their favorite playslip on their smartphones. After this, the app creates a barcode that retailers scan to print the tickets.

Daily Fantasy Sports in Indiana

“Fantasy sports, as long as the definition of gambling is not met, are legal,” informs the Gaming Control Division about Daily Fantasy Sports in Indiana. In March 2016, Indiana became the second state to regulate Daily Fantasy Sports. The bill passed in both chambers with an overwhelming majority and was signed to law on March 24 by Governor Mike Pence.

Operators are required to pay a USD 50,000 licensing fee in order to operate legally in Indiana. The bill recognized Daily Fantasy Sports as a game of skill and appoints the Gaming Commission as the overseeing body of Daily Fantasy Sports in Indiana.

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