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5/16/2018 11:29:00 AM
Indiana casinos, Tropicana Evansville want debate on sports betting to move forward

John T, Martin, Evansville Courier & Press

EVANSVILLE -- The Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision Monday to strike down a 1992 law that forced states to ban sports betting has states all over the country, including Indiana, thinking about next steps.

There has been some interest among lawmakers to bring sports gaming to Indiana, if the legal barrier was removed, and if regulations were in place.

The conversation will ramp up now. 

“The decision creates an opportunity for Indiana to create a regulated and transparent market that allows Hoosiers to legally participate in sports wagering,” Casino Association of Indiana President and CEO Matt Bell said in a prepared statement.

“We are very hopeful that policymakers will renew the (sports gaming) debate when the legislature convenes in January,” Bell said. “The Casino Association of Indiana looks forward to working with policymakers and regulators to ensure that when passed, Indiana’s laws and regulations can be held up as a model.”

John Chaszar, general manager of Tropicana Evansville, said they look forward to working with the state legislators and regulators in the upcoming 2019 session on the legalization of sports betting in Indiana.

State Rep. Holli Sullivan, R-Evansville, recently wrote to legislative leadership urging that an interim study committee take a look at how sports betting would work in Indiana and the impact it could have.

“As other states begin to take steps toward legalization, regulation and taxation of sports wagering, it is crucial for Indiana to be knowledgeable as to the facts and potential impacts of potential legalization,” Sullivan wrote to House and Senate leadership.

Now that the Supreme Court has acted, that study will move forward, Sullivan said Tuesday.

State Sen. Jim Tomes, R-Wadesville, said his questions on the sports betting issue will have to do with oversight. 

“It will be regulated, but I’m not sure how it’s going to be regulated. I don’t know how that mechanism works on the sports gaming,” Tomes said.

The Supreme Court ruled on a case pushed by former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who sought to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, passed by Congress in 1992 to preserve the integrity of the nation's most popular sports.

Christie and other proponents sought the ruling to help the state's ailing casinos and racetracks.

Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill said the ruling is a victory for state’s rights.

"Our Founders drafted the Tenth Amendment for the purpose of limiting the involvement of the federal government in the internal affairs of the states,” Hill said. “Even with this important protection written into the Bill of Rights, we see time and again that states must rise to defend their rightful prerogatives against the intrusive meddling of Congress.

"That’s what New Jersey did in this case, and we were pleased to support the cause of federalism on behalf of all states interested in preserving their liberties.”

The University of  Evansville Department of Athletics declined to comment on the ruling. The Missouri Valley Conference, of which UE is a member, also withheld comment.

The Indianapolis Star contributed to this report.

Related Stories:
• After Supreme Court decision on betting, it's up to states to legalize
• U.S. Supreme Court ruling on gambling is a game changer
• EDITORIAL: Embrace sports betting or be left behind
• COMMENTARY: Legalized sports betting in Indiana a sure bet for Hoosier gamblers

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