Indiana has joined Montana and Tennessee as states to legalize sports betting in 2019. Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signed sports betting bill H 1015 into law on Wednesday afternoon, his final day to act on the measure.

Justification for the Bill

Holcomb issued a statement on his signing of the bill:

“Gaming is a highly regulated industry that once had little competition, but now does from surrounding states and new technology. By modernizing our laws, this legislation will spur positive economic growth for our state and for an industry that employs over 11,000 Hoosiers.

“Additionally, it will bring in new revenue and create hundreds of new jobs – both permanent and in construction. I will direct the Indiana Gaming Commission to monitor for potential effects of this bill so that we can make necessary changes in future legislative sessions.”

The Indiana Gaming Commission will start accepting sports betting applications on July 1, 2019. Republican Senator Mark Messmer said he hopes to see mobile betting in Indiana by this fall, but that may not be a likely possibility. However, brick-and-mortar casinos could be a more realistic possibility before the start of the NFL season.

Inside the Bill

Key points of the bill include:

* Allowing casinos to contract with up to three brands for online sports wagering.

* A portion of sports betting revenue will be set aside for problem gambling.

* In it, the bill will also allow for two new casinos to be constructed in the state.

* It also allows for the two horse track casinos near Indianapolis to have tables games starting January 1, 2020.

* The sports betting scene in Indiana will feature both retail and online sports betting.

* The tax rate will be 9.5 percent of the adjusted gross revenue. The tax rate is higher than some states, such as Nevada and New Jersey, where the rates are 6.75% and 8.5%, respectively. But it’s lower than others like West Virginia or Mississippi, where the rates are 10% and 12%.

* Wagering on esports and amateur athletes under 18 is prohibited. Collegiate betting is allowed.

* An initial fee for a vendor license will be $100,000 and will be followed with a $50,000 annual renewal payment.

Eyeing September to Begin

Sports wagering could start as soon as Sept. 1, and bets can be placed by anyone 21 or older at a casino or on mobile devices after a bettor has registered at an Indiana casino.

Changes are widely considered to be among the most significant since the state authorized riverboat casinos in 1993. A legislative analysis estimates the proposal will bring in about $12 million a year in revenue.

Bipartisan Support

Originally, the bill originally called for casinos having to use “official league data” for in-game wagering, but that was removed from the bill. The legislation passed the Indiana House 59-36 and the Senate 37-12. It received bipartisan support from Democrats and Republicans.