Exploring iGaming/Sports Betting Initiatives: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky
Internet gaming and online sports betting continue to expand throughout the country, with the success of some states often compelling others to explore the economic benefits of iGaming and iSports.
In an effort to explore the diverse perspectives on internet gaming and online sports wagering throughout the country, this newsletter provides an overview of recent legislative efforts in four Midwestern / Central states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, and Kentucky.
Propelled by the success of mobile sports betting in the State, Illinois legislators are pursuing the legalization of internet casino gaming. Legislators introduced the Internet Gaming Act (IGA) in February 2021 to authorize casinos and racetracks in the State to offer iGaming. Supporters of the bill consider iGaming as a complement to Illinois’s existing online sports wagering, and as a supplementary source of revenue for the State.
Despite the support for the IGA, the bill stalled during the late October 2021 legislative session and remains dormant. Support for iGaming remains strong, however, one report estimated Illinois’ annual online casino tax revenue could exceed $100 million.
iSports in IL has been very successful and current revenue reports are available on the Illinois Gaming Board’s website.
Since 2019, state lottery officials have contemplated the possibility of selling lottery tickets and offering other games online. Indiana House Speaker Todd Huston indicated his belief that the state lottery appeared to have the authority to enable online gaming without legislative approval. In February 2022, however, Indiana’s Senate tax committee proposed a provision that would require the Legislature’s approval of online gaming activities.
Some stakeholders, like the Indiana Food and Fuel Association, the members of which sell about 90% of all lottery tickets in the state, support vesting approval power in the Legislature. The Association claims that Indiana’s lottery law, as written in 1989, does not provide for internet gaming.
Pressure from surrounding states may push Iowa legislators towards gambling expansion to ensure the State can benefit from the resulting revenues.
Most recently, the Iowa House of Representatives introduced HF 2497 in February 2022. In addition to permitting cashless wagering at casinos, the proposal would authorize wagering on eSports events in addition to other permitted sports events.
As surrounding states like Nebraska and Illinois seek to expand their in-person and online gambling options, Iowa risks pushing its wagering population to more compelling out-of-state alternatives. As a result, the State may be encouraged to continue the expansion of its legalized gaming activities.
Kentucky Representative Adam Koenig introduced another legislative package on February 28, 2022, that would legalize online sports betting and online poker. Supporters of HB 606 point to potential revenue generation of $22 million annually as a compelling reason to expand gaming in the State.
HB 606 intends to “allow citizens to enjoy sports wagering” and vests within the Racing Commission the power to promulgate administrative regulations to govern sports wagering activities.
Four Winds and National Council on Problem Gambling Promote March Problem Gambling Awareness Month
Reinforcing its commitment to promoting responsible gaming, the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi’s Four Winds Casinos has partnered with the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) to dedicate the month of March as Problem Gambling Awareness Month. The collaborative campaign seeks to increase awareness about problem gambling while improving access to prevention and treatment resources.
Throughout the month, several groups will hold conferences, release public service announcements, provide counselor trainings, host health screening days, and launch social media campaigns to promote the 2022 theme of “Awareness and Action.” The organizations hope that increased public awareness of problem gambling will facilitate the availability of prevention, treatment, and recovery services.
“The Pokagon Gaming Authority and its Four Winds Casinos have been, and will continue to be, fully committed to promoting responsible gaming at all of our locations in Michigan and Indiana, as well as our online casino and sportsbook,” said Chief Operating Officer of Four Winds Casinos Frank Freedman.
To support its commitment to responsible gaming, Four Winds displays printed brochures that describe the signs of problem gambling and provide toll-free hotline numbers for the national gambling helpline and Michigan and Indiana helplines.
The Pokagon Gaming Authority also administers a self-exclusion program that allows Four Winds Casinos or internet gaming patrons to exclude themselves from gaming activities. In addition, the Pokagon Gaming Authority requires its employees to complete “training programs which focus on understanding the gambling disorder, recognizing behaviors, and how to provide helpful resources to [its] guests,” Freedman explained.
Four Winds is committed to promoting the NCPG’s mission to increase awareness of and solutions for problem gambling. For more information on Problem Gambling Awareness Month, visit this website. More details on Four Winds’ commitment to responsible gaming can be found here.