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Indiana Poker & Gambling Legislation Status

Indiana Online PokerIndiana provides plenty of legal avenues for poker players to play. They have casinos spread throughout the state with poker rooms. If you follow major poker tournaments, then you have seen many players from Indiana among the most noted players.

Online poker has proven to be a draw for players from Indiana. You will find players from Indiana present at all online poker sites that accept players from the United States. The legality of playing online poker for Indiana residents is still a gray area. The laws do not clearly address this issue at this time.

Can Players From Indiana Play Poker Online?

Yes! Poker players from Indiana have been enjoying playing poker online for many years. The UIGEA ruling which made it illegal for banks to process payments to online gambling sites has made it a little more difficult for players in the United States to play poker online, but it did not make it impossible.

The best poker sites presented on our homepage continue to accept players from the United States. All sites that are still accepting players from the United States are still accepting players from Indiana.

Is it Legal to Play Online Poker in Indiana?

The legality of playing poker online in Indiana is yet to be determined. We have not found any specific laws that makes it illegal, but we are not the authority on the laws of Indiana. We have found some laws of interest that pertain to gambling in Indiana which you can review below:

  • Gambling under Indiana law is defined as any bet made on anything involving an element of chance. It also includes the use of any “gambling device,” further widening the scope of the definition. (Section 35-45-5-1)
  • Unlawful gambling in Indiana is defined as:
    A person who knowingly or intentionally engages in gambling commits unlawful gambling.
    Except as provided in subsection (c), unlawful gambling is a Class B misdemeanor
    (c) An operator who knowingly or intentionally uses the Internet to engage in unlawful gambling in Indiana; or with a person located in Indiana; commits a Class D felony (Section 34-45-5-2) [1]
  • Charitable gambling events are legal in Indiana as long as they have been preapproved.
  • We have found no instances where an individual has been charged for playing poker online.
  • Indiana has legalized online lottery and horse racing.

We did not find any laws that specifically mentioned poker. However, by the Indiana’s broad definition of gambling online poker could be considered to be illegal. Please contact your local law enforcement or someone with a law degree for interpretation of the laws if you are concerned about the legality of online poker in Indiana.

Indiana Gambling History

As with most states, the recorded history of gambling in Indiana dates back to the 1800s. Gambling was not legal in Indiana during this time, but illegal gambling was not uncommon. Most lawmakers either chose to look the other way or had their wallets padded to look the other way. Illegal gambling continued to prevail in Indiana until the 1970s when authorities finally starting cracking down on the illegal organizations.

In 1988, a state lottery bill was placed on the ballot for Indiana voters, and they voted to legalize the lottery. [2] One of the major deciding factors for the voters was that the proceeds would help fund education in the state. The lottery proceeds are also used to for other public services and needs, but the majority of the profits are pumped into the Indiana schools. The first lottery tickets were sold in 1989, and the lottery continues to bring in a lot of money for Indiana today.

The first legal casino in the state of Indiana opened in 1995 after The Riverboat Gaming Act was passed in 1993. This Act allowed 10 riverboat casinos to receive a license and operate. The other 9 casinos that had received a license began operating shortly after the first. Indiana issued licenses to more riverboat casinos in 2004, and Indiana issued licenses to land-based casinos as well.

The year 2004 was a big year for gamblers in Indiana. Along with issuing licenses to more casinos, Indiana also allowed 5 sites to have offsite betting on the horse races. The horse races are held at Hoosier Park Horse Track in Anderson and Indiana Downs Horse Track in Shelbyville. Both of these horserace tracks also have a casino. Patrons can bet on the horse races at these locations or the 5 offsite locations which include Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Merrillville, Evansville, and Clarksville. These sites are all regulated by the Indiana Horse Racing Commission.

Casino nights for charity are also a fun pastime that Indiana residents enjoy. These charity casino events are legal as long as the organization sponsoring the event has applied for a received a permit for the event. Social poker games are also legal as long as no one takes a rake from the game.

Legalized Gambling Options in Indiana

Indiana has a wide selection of legal gambling options. There are 13 casinos spread out across the state of Indiana. At least 2 of these casinos have poker rooms available for players with a wide selection of offerings.

Indiana also has a state lottery and scratch off tickets. The 5 horserace tracks are a huge attraction, and 2 of these race tracks are combination horserace tracks and casinos. In addition to these offerings there are many legal charity gambling events and home poker games are legal as long as no one is charging rake.

The Future of Online Gambling in Indiana

Indiana currently has many gambling venues for residents and visitors. You would think that they would be one of the first states to embrace online gambling since gambling is common in their state, but they have actually turned the opposite way thus far. Indiana is one of the few states that has already passed laws pertaining to online gambling. So far, all laws concerning online gambling have made it illegal.

It will be interesting to see how Indiana will react to any federal regulation to legalize online poker. I think that Indiana will opt-in to any federal legislation that legalizes online poker, but many others think that they will opt-out. I guess we will just have to wait and see what they decide to do if federal legislation is passed.

References:

  1. Jump up ^ Indiana Gambling Statutes
  2. Jump up ^ Indiana History of Gambling
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