Indiana’s top lawmakers have no issue with the Hoosier Lottery working to offer online lottery games.
In the Lottery staff meeting with House Speaker Todd Huston and Senate Pro Term Rodric Bray, both lawmakers are fine with removing the legislature from the decision-making process.
Legislative position on Indiana online lottery
Speaking to The Journal Gazette, Huston said his priority is supporting local retailers.
“I want to make sure that whatever is done supports local retailers, the money stays in local communities. I made it extraordinarily clear that my expectation is the local retailers need to be supportive of it, and you need to be make sure that they’re, you know, incredible participants in these types of discussions.”
A 1989 statute gives the Indiana Lottery Commission authority to govern the lottery, including:
- The method to be used in selling tickets
- Any other matters necessary or desirable for the efficient or economical operation of the lottery or for the convenience of the public
Because of this, both Huston and Bray believe the Indiana lottery already has the legal authority to proceed.
Matt Bell, president and CEO of the Casino Association of Indiana, said, allowing for online lottery tickets should be a legislative decision.
Bell had this to say:
“We believe that this is a legislative policy discussion. There are always implications to gaming policy. And for the better part of almost 40 years it has been the legislature that has decided those questions. I think the [online] space is a big part of the future for both casino gaming and the lottery, but we think it’s a legislative decision.”
The executive director of the Indiana Food and Fuel Association, Scot Imus, also voiced his disappointment. Imus said the move could impact retail establishments that sell roughly 90% of all lottery tickets in Indiana.
“We are obviously concerned with the impact this will have on brick and mortar.”
In the interim, there is new language in SB 417. Specifically, the bill requires legislative approval before lottery tickets can be available online.
For now, it is unknown if the lottery commission will proceed with online ticket sales.