Indiana and Virginia moving towards gambling regulation


Indiana Senator Jon Ford said that he’s working on the state’s upcoming online casino bill which he said could emerge by 2021. The current state of the global pandemic has slowed the pace of the State Senate, so delays are still possible with the bill, but it’s looking likely that the bill will be introduced very soon.

Senator Ford believes that online gambling is the next step for Indiana’s gaming industry as their land-based casinos are limited to 50% of their usual capacity. It is, therefore, the global pandemic that forced Indiana to move faster to introduce an online gambling bill.

Ford’s idea is to permit all 13 Indiana casinos and racetracks with casinos (“racinos”) to apply for a licence from the Illinois Gaming Commission (IGC), which is the state’s gaming regulator. Indiana casinos are allowed to have up to three mobile partners, whcih would then mean they have the capability of offering as many as 39 skins to customers. Ford said he’s considering limiting online casino skins to two or three per casino but is yet undecided on the issues.

Indiana poker players may have to wait a bit longer before it’s their turn to get a regulated playing field. Ford said poker might be a tougher sell to his colleagues.

Virginia could have sports betting in 2021 and casino in 2022

Only bingo, a state lottery, horse racing and daily fantasy sports are considered legal in the state of Virginia, with casinos and greyhound racing specifically prohibited, but the landscape is likely to change in the coming months and years.

Virginia Lottery director Kevin Hall said he aims for an early 2021 launch of sports betting services, and a spring 2022 launch of the four new casinos that were approved by voters this month.

Lottery received 25 sports betting applications to date, and the law allows for a maximum of 12 licences, though operators tethered to professional sports venues don’t count against the 12 licence cap.

Since the application window closed on October 31, and the Lottery has 90 days to approve applications, that means that the hard deadling would be January 29 – just a week ahead of Super Bowl LV that’s set for February 7 in Tampa.

Though the lottery is not releasing the list of applicants, many of the major U.S. players are in the mix, including BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet, and WynnBet. Hard Rock (Bristol), Rush Street (Portsmouth), and William Hill/Caesars (Danville) are all already partnered with casinos, giving them market access.

Regarding casinos, Hall shared a timeline for legal casino gaming that includes deciding on the rules by April 2021 and then licencing casinos a year later. 2022 looks like the year when casinos will be constructed. Voters approved brick-and-mortar casinos in Bristol, Danville, Norfolk and Portsmough on November 3. Only the Norfolk casino doesn’t yet have a gaming partner — the city agreed to sell land to the Pamunkey Indian tribe, which has not yet announced which operator will run gaming.

The new developments are a major milestone for a state that goes as far as to penalize illegal gambling, as any person who illegally gambles or engages in interstate gambling is guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.

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