In 2019, the Indiana legislator legalized sports betting at Indiana casinos as well as mobile sports betting run by the casinos. Sports betting will be a new revenue stream for Indiana casinos and boost state tax revenue from casinos that have seen revenue decline for years.
There was another gaming issue not passed in 2019 but that would have an impact far beyond the walls of the statehouse or the doors of glitzy casinos – the legalization of video gaming terminals.
VGTs are a win for Hoosier small businesses. The fact is that small, independent bars and restaurants – along with our state’s social and veterans’ service organizations like the VFW and the American Legion – are struggling. In the face of growing competition, often from growing walled-off casinos, they need to bring people in the door and keep them there. The legalization of video gaming terminals would not only bring in additional customers, but they could entice existing customers to stay longer as they enjoy new entertainment offerings.
According to one recent study conducted by Union Gaming, the legalization of video gaming in Indiana would create or retain over 32,000 jobs and could result in over $700 million in investment in the state. Don’t forget the millions in gaming taxes that would be shared between the state, local municipalities, and the establishments that house the terminals, creating a new revenue stream for governments and businesses alike that is being passed over today.
Once legalized, establishments that feature video gaming terminals would be tightly regulated with tough but fair rules that cap the size of bets, restrict access for those under 21 and even limit the number of terminals that can be in one location, among many other rules. Enforced by the Indiana Gaming Commission, these rules make sense and promote responsible gambling.
Video gaming terminals are a win for small businesses, a win for state and local governments, and a win for Hoosiers who just want more entertainment options when they choose to dine out. When considering gaming legislation, policy makers should remember Main Street and include the legalization of video gaming terminals in Indiana.