Indiana Guide To Legal Gambling

Your Guide To Every Gambling Option Indiana Has To Offer

IndianaIf Americans were asked about their associations with Indiana, most would probably mention cornfields, basketball, or the Indianapolis 500. The Hoosier State has long been a cornerstone of the Midwest. (Though it’s often overshadowed in the public eye by its bigger neighbors to the east and west — Ohio and Illinois, respectively.) In fact, much of northwest Indiana feeds into the sphere of activity surrounding Chicago.

Politically, Indiana has voted for the Republican candidate for president in every election since 1980. The only exception was Barack Obama’s first election in 2008. Aside from the urban northwestern corner (which includes the Chicago suburbs) and Indianapolis, the rest of the state leans moderately right. This conservative-but-moderate ethos transfers to Indiana’s gambling history and its application of laws surrounding gaming.

Online gambling

Indiana is one of only three states to enact an outright ban on online gambling (see note 18). Therefore, no operator may conduct business within the state borders. Even social casino sites are a bit dodgy. They cannot be operated in any manner that passes the legal standard for gambling. The illegality even extends to online horse-race wagering and internet sweepstakes establishments.

Residents may still access online sites that operate offshore. The three major networks available to US residents (America’s Cardroom, Ignition, and Merge) all allow play from Indiana. However, the state laws would appear to conflict with the federal law. It is unclear if playing on these sites would constitute an illegal act under Indiana law. Just to be safe, it’s inadvisable to play on these sites in Indiana. Even if the law is slightly murky – hands of poker aren’t worth jail time.

As far as sports betting goes, Indiana appears to be moving towards a 2019 launch. In October 2018, a legislative committee recommended that the Indiana General Assembly consider legalizing the practice and joining the ranks of states who offer sports betting to their residents.

Additionally, a report commissioned by the Indiana Gaming Commission estimated that Indiana’s yearly economic impact from sports betting might be as high as $466 million. That impact includes both wagering and other expenditures from players traveling to Indiana to cast their bets.

Online gambling operators

Operator Primary Skin(s) Types of games offered
Merge Gaming Network Carbon Poker Poker (P), Slots (S), Blackjack (BJ), Table Games (T), Keno (K), Lottery (L), Video Poker (VP), Racing (R)
PaiWangLuo Poker Ignition Casino P, S, BJ, T, VP, Bingo
Winning Poker Network America’s Cardroom, Black Chip Poker, True Poker P, S, BJ, T, VP, Sports Betting (SB)
Chico BetOnline P, S, BJ, T, VP, R, SB, various skill games like dominoes and Yahtzee
5 Dimes Grand Poker P, BJ, S, T, VP, R, SB, L
Horizon Intertops Poker P, BJ, S, T (Roulette only), SB
SWCPoker (none) P (Bitcoin only)

Social casino options

All the typical social casino options are available in Indiana. Double Down, Big Fish, Slotomania, and Zynga are playable through Facebook or through a mobile device. Also, four of Indiana’s 13 casinos offer free play options through their websites. The Tropicana Evansville, Hollywood Casino Lawrenceburg, Horseshoe Casino (in Hammond), and Horseshoe Southern Indiana all have functions that allow players to try their slot games at no risk.

State casino operator history

Indiana is home to 13 casino operations. In June 1993, the Indiana Legislature overrode a budget veto from Governor Evan Bayh and authorized construction of up to 10 riverboats. These are based primarily on the Ohio River or on the shoreline of Lake Michigan. These boats are much like those in other states. They are not designed to be navigable; they simply exist to maintain the gaming operations over a body of water (as the law requires). In 2004, the legislature also allowed for an 11th casino to be constructed in French Lick.

The two other casino operations are racinos – facilities that began life as horse racing tracks. However, through legislation passed in 2007 (the “Racino Law”), each track was able to install up to 2,000 slot machines on their premises. This transformed them into casinos, albeit limited ones.

These 13 casinos are operated by eight different companies. Some of these companies are among the biggest in gaming. Caesars operates the two Horseshoe casinos, while others are merely regional players or companies founded only to operate the specific casino in Indiana.

Casino locations

Because of the limitations on the locations for these facilities, casino gambling in Indiana is largely clustered around two areas: the northwest corner and the southern border. However, both of these clusters are aided by their geography.

In the case of northwestern Indiana, the location places it within reasonable driving distance from the Chicago metropolitan area. In fact, it’s quite convenient for many Chicagoans to cross into Indiana for their gambling needs.

The other cluster occurs because of the placement of casino boats (by law) in the Ohio River. The river forms the southern border of Indiana with Kentucky. That means Louisville, which abuts the river and is home to over 500,000 residents, who have easy access and provide the lifeblood for these five casinos to stay in business.

Ironically enough, the largest city and capital of Indiana, Indianapolis, is no closer than two hours from any existing Indiana casino. Its only hope would be if Rising Star manages to open a facility in Terre Haute. This would put a casino just over an hour from Indianapolis proper.

Still, this state is perhaps one of the most obvious where the casino laws and construction are not built for the legislature to collect extra money from residents. If anything, they act as money nets for people crossing the border from other states.

Land-based casinos

Property Location Number of Slot Machines Number of Poker Tables Table Games Offered
Ameristar East Chicago 1,700 n/a C, BJ, Bac, R, PGP, 3C, UTH, HCF*
Belterra Casino Florence 1,277 9 C, BJ, R, HCF, PGP, LR, CS, 3C, MS, C4, UTH
Blue Chip Casino Michigan City 1,700 8 C, BJ, R, UTH, MS, 3C, CS, 4C, MBac, HCF
French Lick Resort Casino French Lick 1,000 n/a C, BJ, R, MBac, MS, THB, 3C, C4, HCF
Hollywood Casino Lawrenceburg Lawrenceburg 1,706 19 C, BJ, R, B, HCF
Hoosier Park Anderson 2,000+**,, n/a BJ, C, R, B, The Organic Islands
Horseshoe Southern Indiana Elizabeth 1,700 30 C, BJ, R, MBac, PGP, C4, LR
Horseshoe Casino Hammond Hammond 3,014 34 C, BJ, R, B, MBac, PGT
Indiana Grand Casino Shelbyville 2,200** n/a C, BJ, R
Majestic Star

Majestic Star II

Gary 1,900 21 C, BJ, R, LR, B, MS, THB, 3C, B6, PGP
Rising Star Casino Resort Rising Sun 1,000 n/a C, BJ, R, B6, 3C, 4C, CS
Tropicana Evansville Evansville 1,000 10 C, BJ, R, HCF, 3C, MBac, Roulette Evolution, Criss Cross Poker

*Craps (C), Blackjack (BJ), Roulette (R), Baccarat (B), Mini-Baccarat (MBac), Pai Gow Poker (PGP), Pai Gow Tiles (PGT), Let It Ride (LR), Caribbean Stud Poker (CS), Crazy 4 Poker (C4), 3 Card Poker (3C), 4 Card Poker (4C), Ultimate Texas Hold’em (UTH), High Card Flush (HCF), Mississippi Stud (MS), Texas Hold’em Bonus (THB), Big Six Wheel (B6)

**Includes e-table games, which operate using table game rules but are electronic games

State legal environment

  Permitted/Offered? Notes & Restrictions
Land-Based Gambling Yes Almost all casinos are clustered in northwest corner or along southern border of state
Online Gambling No One of three states to strictly forbid online gambling
Lottery Yes In-state and multi-state drawing options
Charitable or House-Based Gambling Yes Bingo and raffles
Minimum Gambling Age 18 for lottery, pari-mutuel, and charitable gaming; 21 for casinos