Indiana Online Casinos Could Feature Live Dealer Games, If Legalized

Written By Katarina Vojvodic on January 27, 2023
Live dealer games could be included in legal Indiana online casinos

Indiana is among five states to watch in 2023 for possible online casino legalization. What brings optimism to the state is a newly introduced bill that would legalize Indiana online casinos.

Brought by Rep. Ethan Manning, HB 1536 is the Indiana lawmakers’ third attempt to expand online gambling in the Hoosier State. It’s possibly happening three years later after Indiana launched online sportsbooks.

The addition of legal online casinos would make Indiana a full-service state for online gambling. That’s especially true because online casinos bring all the fun, including slot machines, poker and live dealer games.

What would HB 1536 legalize in the Indiana gambling market?

A piece of legislation currently in the Indiana legislature is taking another swing at bringing online casinos to the state. In 2022, similar legislation failed to receive a hearing in the House Public Policy Committee.

This year’s proposal, HB 1536, might have a better chance of advancing in the state capitol this year. House Speaker Todd Huston appointed Ethan Manning to chair that committee and hold significant influence over the bill’s progress.

The new bill would legalize online casinos, online lottery ticket sales, and online poker platforms. Also, it would advance responsible gaming measures.

Sen. Jon Ford, president of the National Council of Legislators from the Gaming States, played an essential role in legalizing sports betting in Indiana. Ford said Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb wants an online lottery brought to the state, so including it could help the push for online casinos.

Online casinos that could come to Indiana

If Indiana legalizes online casinos, many renowned sportsbook brands will be looking to expand their business in the state. That could bring the following to Hoosier State bettors:

  • BetMGM Casino
  • BetRivers Casino
  • Caesars Casino
  • DraftKings Casino
  • FanDuel Casino

Golden Nugget Casino and Bally Bet Casino could also make an appearance. If they can negotiate the appropriate deals.

HB1536 would allow Indiana’s land-based casinos and “racinos” (horse racing tracks that offer casino gaming) to offer online casino games. Each casino can partner with up to three brands.

Casinos will have to pay $500K for a license, which will be renewable for $50K every year.

Will live dealer online games be part of the mix?

There’s a great possibility live dealer games will be available in Indiana’s online casino offerings.

At the request of the Indiana Gaming Commission, Pennsylvania-based Spectrum Gaming Group LLC conducted a study projecting what Indiana online gambling would look like.

The gaming group expected that there would be an industry standard mix of:

  • Slot games
  • Table games
  • Table games with live dealers

While no one can tell for sure if live games are coming to Indiana at this point, the study suggests live dealer gaming would create additional jobs:

“The addition of igaming without live-dealer gaming has no meaningful impact on direct casino employment – but it would create additional jobs in igaming operations. It is when operators launch live dealer gaming as part of their igaming scheme that states realize meaningful employment impacts, typically through a third-party provider.

Based on results in other states, live-dealer igaming in Indiana could create many hundreds of jobs through the employment of dealers in purpose-built studios for this Market and Policy Analysis: Indiana Igaming iv segment of igaming. The significant economic impacts of live-dealer gaming can be realized if the studios are situated in the host state, as is required in four of the five current live-dealer igaming states.”

iDEA Growth and the Casino Association of Indiana (CAI) commissioned the Indiana iGaming Study. The study projected a similar scenario with a solid selection of online casino games.

The study estimates diverse offerings, including slots featuring numerous titles/themes, table games (house-banked and player-banked), and live dealer online (“LDO”) selection.

Live dealer studios that could be on their way to Indiana

If the legislation included live games, then studios like Evolution and Playtech could bring several hundred new jobs into Indiana.

Sweden-based Evolution AB currently employs 2,000 people, mostly dealers, at its live studios. The supplier has so far developed multiple gaming studios in the US, operating in Michigan, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

In New Jersey, for example, the company employs hundreds of live dealers for just Golden Nugget and Hard Rock Atlantic City operations.

As the Spectrum study cites, an Evolution representative told their company that it could offer up to 800 gaming jobs in Indiana.

Isle of Man-based Playtech announced its US expansion into Michigan, Indiana and Pennsylvania, after partnering with Parx Casino operator Greenwood Racing.

Playtech employs about 100 at its live-dealer studio in Michigan. And it expects to offer about 500 in Michigan and New Jersey combined by the end of 2023. Playtech told Spectrum that such an operation in Indiana would employ more than 100 people in its first year.

Are online casino games in Indiana a threat to land-based casinos?

Indiana legislators are serious about increasing tax revenue with online slots, table and live dealer games. But land-based casino businesses would not be at risk of losing revenue.

As Manning explained, the bill will be much like his previous proposal to allow online casino games. It proposes taxing revenue at an 18% rate, with an online casino model quite similar to the state’s sports betting system.

The 2019 bill legalizing sports betting required third-party betting platforms to partner with existing physical casinos. And as such would secure Indiana’s existing casino businesses’ revenue stream.

Spectrum Gaming Group’s report also concluded that introducing online casino gambling in Indiana would not harm existing retail casinos. As long as they are integrated into the funding model.

And, if the state introduces a 20% tax on online casino revenue, online gaming could generate an estimated $55 million tax for Indiana during its first year. According to Spectrum’s report, the state could generate $166 million in annual revenue by the third year. That would total $341 million in taxes from the industry.

Photo by PlayUSA
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Katarina Vojvodic

Katarina Vojvodic is a lead writer for PlayUSA who lives in Toronto. Vojvodic provides coverage of the US gambling industry with a focus on US online casinos. Previously, she covered Ontario’s online gambling industry for Vojvodic holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Belgrade. Outside working hours, she can be found near the water with her husband and their two kids.

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