A Brief History Of Casino Gambling In Indiana

Map of Indiana on USA

The very first signs of gambling in this Midwestern country was in the form of a state lottery back in 1988. Soon after, Bingo became the most wanted game in casinos in Indiana, while horse racing was legalized in 1990. Today, this is the only allowed version of online gambling.

Like many countries in this area, Indiana officially legalized casinos back in 1993. Still, the first forms of casinos were so-called “riverboat casinos”, located on water as the name suggests, mainly on Lake Michigan and the Ohio River. With the addition of race tracks, the state’s stand on casino gambling became more lax, and about 2,000 slot machines and table games were also added to the mix.

However, gambling still came across major obstacles over the years. The hunger for gambling was alive and kicking ever since the early 80s, which is why the state attempted to stop it right away. Despite that, the referendum showed a strong 60% majority of Indiana natives being pro-gambling, making it unstoppable, at least for a while. In 2006, however, when the Internet became a part of our everyday lives, Indiana banned online gambling altogether, which many consider a giant step back. Indiana was among the few countries to make this move.

Today, you can enjoy a selection of games of chance in the following cities:

  • Anderson
  • East Chicago
  • Elizabeth
  • Evansville
  • Florence
  • French Lick
  • Gary
  • Hammond
  • Michigan City
  • Lawrenceburg
  • Rising Sun
  • Shelbyville

When it comes to age restrictions to enter an Indiana casino, you need to be at least 21 years old, while for lotteries, racing, and bingo you have to be at least 18. And how does a smoking ban affect the business? Well, the ban does exist, but it is actually not applied to the areas restricted to minors. Meaning, you will have no trouble enjoying everything that a classic casino has to offer, including the smoke of cigars flowing around you while you enjoy a poker game or indulge in some sports betting.

Official Documents

There are a few key terms in the Indiana statute regarding gambling that can help you understand how gambling in Indiana works. First, the official term for gambling is “risking money or other property for gain […] or the operation of a gambling device…”

Dices on the table

This section quite clearly distinguishes gambling from other forms of games, such as playing social home games. In the past, these games were actually considered to be the same, which created quite a turmoil between the players and the state.

The law is also strict when it comes to any kind of promotion of gambling. Advertising, inviting, hosting, or transmitting information about a gambling event is considered a felony.

Never Ending Allure of Bingo

Bingo, as we know it today, was considered gambling in Indiana and was actually banned first. Way back in 1851, the state was quite strict, so much so that they included the ban on Bingo in the constitution! However, over time the Bingo’s positive features came to light, and the game, even today, is widely used for charity purposes.

What’s Left?

So, when you take away online gambling, you still have a pretty good gaming selection, including many slots, table games, and more. Horse track races are the most popular way to enjoy gambling adventures, and the only form of sports betting allowed in Indiana.

Aside from Bingo, dice and Roulette games are also permitted only for charitable purposes, with defined limitations on prizes you can acquire. Furthermore, the riverboat casinos, which were the first form of casinos in this country, are only allowed in the Lake Patoka area, including Lake Michigan and the Ohio River. Also, these casinos have a precise list of games that they offer, mostly table games — Baccarat, Blackjack, Craps, etc.

Illegal Gambling

Even with the strict laws regarding gambling, Indiana still experienced some controversy regarding sports rink activities ahead of the Super Bowl in 2013. This resulted in over 400 police busts with $200.000 involved in total.

You would think that the online gambling ban would be the end of it, but you couldn’t be more wrong. Namely, there are more Internet cafes popping up than the Indiana state police can close down, and this remains a recurring problem.

Gambling inside casino

And maybe the most notorious bust was that of 2007 when it was discovered that illegal poker games were being held 7 days a week after the establishment was robbed at gunpoint. Basically, after the robbers took the money, computers, and other equipment, it was discovered that many state troopers and police were also involved in illegal gambling activities.

Plans For The Future

Today, Indiana is not so strict regarding gambling. From banning casino games completely to gradually pulling them in and accepting them all together, this country has actually made quite a development over the course of the last 30 years or so.

Most recently, in 2012, the casino gambling industry in Indiana made some of the lowest profits ever, so the state is considering creating a lot more land-based casinos, including pulling the riverboat ones ashore. What may have affected the current state could be the expansion of casino gambling in the neighboring state of Ohio, which is on an all-time high in this area.

Perhaps the most innovative thing that could bring those numbers up for Indiana is touch-screen Roulette games; they have made quite a stir and generated a lot of positive comments in the gambling community.

Indiana Gambling In a Glimpse

As you can see, gambling in Indiana is allowed, as long as you are not a minor. Also, you can enjoy lottery games by purchasing a ticket from a licensed retailer. Sports betting is limited only to race tracks, but it is a favorite activity for many Indiana natives, so you won’t feel that anything is missing from the sportsbook.

Otherwise, the state has provided laws and regulations which are quite clear; thus it should not be so hard to follow them. As long as you do, you will have a pretty decent time playing!