Indiana dealt online casino blow following corruption scandal

Indiana statehouse
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When examining which states could make a move to legalize online casino in 2024, Indiana would typically be in many tipsters’ top two or three. Yet, the chances of this happening have taken a huge blow after a former lawmaker pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges relating to the gaming bill of 2019. 

As reported by the local WBAA and WVXU, Rep. Sean Eberhart has pleaded guilty to federal charges accusing him of taking a $350k salary from Spectacle Gaming in exchange for support for HEA 1015, which paved the way for sports betting in the state.

Eberhart was paid by Spectacle Gaming to support and promote the bill which authorized sports betting at riverboats, racinos, and associated satellite facilities. As Spectacle Gaming was to materially benefit from the bill, federal authorities deemed it necessary to charge the former lawmaker with corruption charges.

This, the local outlets report, means that further gambling expansion in 2024 is nearly impossible to fathom. 

Senate President Rodric Bray, stated: “It taints the Statehouse. It diminishes the confidence that people have in the integrity of the Statehouse. It causes an awful lot of problems and it makes it particularly difficult to engage in that kind of policy.” 

Bray and House Speaker Todd Huston have reportedly agreed to not pursue any gaming legislation in the 2024 session. 

The 2023 efforts to legalize online casino in Indiana fell on death’s knees in the Committee of the House after it failed to advance before the cutoff date. This is despite it being one of the more promising pieces of legislation in the US last year. 

The bill died after a fiscal impact report from the Indiana Legislative Services Agency warned that up to 30% of online revenues would take away funds from the land-based sector, which scared off lawmakers.