Gambling in Indiana

Indiana State gambling Laws

Indiana’s lawmakers have a history of being keen to keep gambling laws in Indiana under the thumb of state controls, cracking down on the state’s lotteries as part of the original state constitution. Prohibition did not work of course, and the golden age of riverboat casinos began in 1859.

These days, the state’s residents enjoy the riverboat casinos, ‘racinos’, live poker rooms, betting on horses and much more, with sports betting becoming legalized in the state in late 2019.

Indiana Casino Gambling

Gambling laws in Indiana offer casino games on the state’s riverboat casinos and at the racetrack ‘racinos’ for its visitors and residents, however, there are strict laws on gamblers who step outside of these licensed venues to take part in casino games. Whilst it once was required for state’s five riverboat casinos to be sailing whilst gambling was in progress, the riverboats can now be safely dry-docked for legal-casino-play.

Indiana casinos were first legalized in 1993 (under the Indiana Riverboat Act), and like many states at that time, casinos in Indiana had to be located on the water. Lake Michigan and Ohio River are the common waterways where the five riverboat casinos were/are located. This rule was later relaxed when racetracks were permitted to offer slots and video poker.

Indiana House Bill 1540 passed in 2015 to expand casinos to ‘land-based’ as well as riverboat casinos. As of 2022, two land-based casinos have opened to the public with at least one more in development.

Almost 24000 slot machines and other gaming machine devices are on offer, and there are more than 600 casino table games including live poker, blackjack, craps, and roulette. In Indiana, minimum bets are as low as $0.01 to a monster $100 000 maximum bet in the state’s Casinos.

Online Casinos in Indiana

Anything related to online casino gambling in Indiana is regulated by the Indiana Gaming Commission. They are in charge of monitoring all casinos and racetracks, granting gambling licenses, and making sure all players are protected.

However, in terms of online gaming, as one of the few states (along with Utah and Washington), Indiana enacted legislation specifically banning gambling on the internet. Most notably, there are Indiana gambling laws that pertain directly to the operation of an internet website for the purpose of gambling. The laws directly affect bookmaking and games of chance. Both are considered a Class D felony, one of the harshest penalties in all states of the union.

Poker in Indiana

Live Poker can be enjoyed at Indiana’s casinos, all of which have legal poker rooms and offer tournaments and big cash prizes.

Social ‘home’ games are expressly prohibited in Indiana, and beware, players running afoul of the state’s laws have been indicted in the past as well as the organizers of the games. Whilst the charges placed on players are only misdemeanors, severe penalties can result for organizers of the social poker games.

Poker Rooms

Indiana has a total of 10 poker rooms encompassing over 150 tables. It is perfectly legal to play different types of poker without fear of breaking any laws (including Pot Limit Hold’em, Casino Hold’em, Omaha 8 or better, Texas Hold’em, Caribbean Stud Poker, No Limit Hold’em etc.).

In Indiana, unlicensed poker, unlicensed roulette or unlicensed craps (Stick to playing legally in the poker rooms, racinos or Riverboat Casinos – playing unlicensed for money in your own home is actively discouraged), are all seen as forms of illegal and prohibited gaming and can theoretically be charged as misdemeanors in Indiana.

Online Poker Laws

Indiana’s possibilities for online poker and other forms of online gambling improved slightly with the selection of hard-line former Governor Mike Pence to be Donald Trump’s running mate and eventual Vice President. However, until now, there have been no moves on regulation towards legalizing online poker in Indiana at the moment. For an in-depth explanation, please refer to the above section on ‘Online Casinos in Indiana’.

History of Online & Land-Based Gambling in Indiana

1851 – Indiana’s first state constitution bans lotteries.

1859 – Indiana’s iconic Riverboat casino culture begins until it closed down in the 20th century.

1988:  Indiana State lottery begins, and becomes the most popular gambling format in the State along with nationwide interstate lotteries.

1993: Indiana Riverboat Act passed permitting riverboat casinos in Indiana to be located on Lake Michigan and the Ohio River. The riverboats were required to be navigable. This law was repealed in 1999. The ships were no longer required to include a crew and motor. All ships are anchored today.

1994: Legal Horse Racing introduced to Indiana.

2005: Indiana gambling laws that pertain directly to the operation of an internet website for the purpose of gambling passed, effectively banning online casinos.

2007: Slots machines permitted at Indiana’s racecourses, transforming them into ‘racinos’.

2015:  Indiana House Bill 1540 passed to expand casinos to ‘land-based’ as well as riverboat casinos, however, no land-based casino have yet opened in Indiana.

2016: In March 2016, current U.S. Vice-President and then Governor of Indiana, Mike Pence signed into law state bill S 339 to legalize DFS in the state of Indiana.

2019: Sports betting introduced to Indiana

Visit our Indiana Sports Betting page for reviews of the top online sportsbooks in Indiana