The death knell has already tolled for a promising piece of gambling legislation, the Indiana online casino bill filed by Rep. Ethan Manning.
The bill died in committee this week, as it failed to advance prior to Tuesday’s deadline for legislation to advance. Many industry experts thought Indiana was the most likely state to legalize online casino in 2023.
Sen. Jon Ford, who has supported online gambling legislation in the statehouse for several years, told PlayUSA the bill lost momentum after a fiscal impact report from the Indiana Legislative Services Agency warned of potential cannibalization of land-based casinos in the state. The report stated:
“Studies have concluded that up to 30% of new online gaming revenues are displaced from existing casino revenues. This figure could be higher for a saturated market like Indiana.”
What is interesting about that conclusion is that most research and financial numbers out of states with online casinos and land-based casinos, like New Jersey and Pennsylvania, have demonstrated that there is actually no cannibalization. The paper cites a 2011 study on the matter. Recall that no state legalized online casinos in the state until 2013. The report also cited several gaming revenue reports from online casino states which do not support those cannibalization estimates.
“I think the fiscal is a joke. It may be one of the worst documents I’ve seen come out of our legislative services,” Ford told PlayUSA. “The fiscal analysis on the bill was horrible and made collaboration pretty hard. To use a study from 2011 and not pay attention to the other four or five studies done around the country since then, it appeared to me the fiscal analyst was looking for a study that proved his thought.”
Illinois and New York still have active online casino legislation. However, after online casino revenue was left out of the New York budget, the chances are slim that the bill gets through in 2023. There has not been much buzz around the Illinois legislation, so the likelihood is no state legalizes online casinos this year.