State Sen. Jon Ford, R-Terre Haute, said Monday he plans to file legislation to allow sports gambling in Indiana. The measure would permit such wagering on riverboats and at casinos, racinos and satellite facilities.
“Legalizing sports betting in Indiana would expand our revenue resources and increase recreational opportunities for Hoosiers,” Ford said. “Both in-person and mobile sports gambling are predicted to provide Indiana with hundreds of new jobs as well as an additional $150 million in annual state tax revenue over the next five years.”
Last fall, an interim study committee on public policy recommended the General Assembly consider such legislation. Ford’s bill would allow betting on all major sports, including at the college level, but not on youth sports.
Wagering could be done in person or through a secure mobile device.
“At this time, only seven other states allow sports gambling,” Ford said. “They’ve had great success, and I believe Indiana could benefit from it as well.”
Prospects for passage are “pretty good,” he said. “There’s been a lot of talk about this for a couple of years. What will help us is seeing the numbers and the research on the gray market on how much sports betting really is going on.”
The American Gaming Association estimates Indiana sees $300 million annually in illegal sports wagering, he said.
On another gambling issue, Ford said prospects are also good for efforts to bring a casino to the Wabash Valley.
“We’re a long way away from knowing but I think Terre Haute is well-positioned but I know there are other communities that would also have the opportunity to have a casino,” he said.
Spectacle Entertainment, which is co-owned by Terre Haute businessman Greg Gibson, is seeking to acquire ownership of two casinos in Gary and move them to other locations, potentially including Terre Haute.