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Indiana Online Casino Bill Dies Because of Bribery Scandal


Hopes fade again

Bettors hoping for Indiana’s online casino bill to see the light of day saw their hopes fade once again after state lawmakers said they wouldn’t consider any gaming bills in the 2024 legislature.  

shadow of bribery cast by an ex-state legislator

The reason, Indiana Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bay (R-Martinsville) told Indiana Public Broadcasting, (IPB), is the shadow of bribery cast by an ex-state legislator that “taints the Statehouse.”

Former Indiana Rep. Sean Eberhart (R-Shelbyville) has agreed to come clean to a federal charge of conspiracy to commit honest services fraud.

Eberhart will admit to taking a bribe, one that cuts too close to the bone for state legislators considering the ex-lawmaker was allegedly caught agreeing to a $350,000 annual salary with Spectacle Entertainment in exchange for supporting a 2019 bill favorable to the casino firm.  

Public confidence low

Bray further explained to IPB the stink left by Eberhart “diminishes the confidence that people have and the integrity of the statehouse.” The sitting Senate President added the bribery legacy “causes an awful lot of problems and makes it particularly difficult to engage in that kind of policy.”

House Speaker Todd Huston (R-Fishers) concurred with Bray that, in essence, the mess left by the ex-lawmaker nixes any online casino legislation in the 2024 session.

Eberhart will plead guilty in November to the federal charge of conspiracy filed by the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison plus a $250,000 fine.

Eberhart allegedly accepted the lucrative job offer from Spectacle in return for his vote and lobbying that allowed the company, since rebranded Lady Luck Gaming, to relocate two casinos in Indiana.

A doomed year

While Indiana was one of the first states to legalize both online and retail sports betting in 2019, its online casino bill continues to be an elusive challenge.

In addition to Eberhart’s legacy, the online casino bill flatlined on the legislature’s floor in February thanks to an outdated market study.

Ex-Indiana Senator Jon Ford at the time dubbed the fiscal impact statement produced by the Indiana Legislative Services Agency, which stated digital casino games could cannibalize up to 30% of retail casino revenue, “a joke.”


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