Gambling Legislation

Indiana to put gambling legislation discussions on hold for a year

Indiana to put gambling legislation discussions on hold for a year

Recent corruption issues have caused Indiana lawmakers to put gambling on the back burner

Indiana legislators have chosen to refrain from considering new gambling proposals in the upcoming 2024 legislative session. House Speaker Todd Huston and Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray made the announcement in response to former state legislator Sean Eberhart’s recent guilty plea to federal charges of corruption.

The former Representative from Shelbyville admitted to accepting a bribe from Spectacle Gaming concerning the guarantee of a six-figure job. This disclosure was directly related to his support for a 2019 gaming bill favorable to Spectacle Gaming.

Eberhart served as Indiana House District 57 representative, which includes Shelby County and parts of Hancock and Bartholomew Counties. He held the position for 16 years until he resigned in November 2022.

Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray highlighted the seriousness of the circumstances, saying there should be no expectations of gaming legislation in 2024, according to West Lafayette radio station WBAA. Bray and House Speaker Todd Huston agree that the result of Eberhart’s corruption case dimmed any possibility of progressing with gaming-related legislation next year.

The effect of Eberhart’s case stretches beyond the upcoming legislative calendar. Bray expressed uncertainties regarding the repercussions, saying that the crisis casts a shadow over the Statehouse, lowers public trust, and produces considerable challenges in seeking such policies.

Lawmakers are conscious of the necessity to address these matters before considering any new gaming legislation. The scandal has slowed the gaming industry’s recent steps toward legalizing online casino gaming.

However, positive outcomes have resulted for gambling proponents in Indiana. Sports wagering was legalized in September 2019, with almost $404.2 million in wagers placed in September 2023 at the 12 retail casinos.

The Terre Haute Casino Resort will open in March 2024, further contributing to the state’s booming gaming industry despite the legislative setbacks.

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