Gambling Laws For Indiana
Those who wish to enjoy a responsible gambling hobby in the United States have an uphill climb ahead of them. Proponents of the hobby need to overcome not only the negative stigma associated with casual gambling, but perhaps one of the most confusing legal landscapes to navigate in all the country. Regular gamblers know how fun the hobby can be when enjoyed responsibly, but many prospective gamblers never get to see for themselves due to the high degree of misinformation and bad popular assumptions abound in pop culture at the moment concerning the subject of Indiana gambling laws.
In an attempt to hurt organized crime and racketeering operations back in the 60’s, several federal laws were passed through the Supreme Court that helped to outlaw and criminalize the facilitation of gambling throughout the country while leaving the gambler him or herself well enough alone.
From here, most states add their own legislation concerning the hobby. Most states use the template provided by federal law in shaping their own policies, but each state has unique wrinkles. The purpose of this webpage is to help guide Indiana residents through the confusing legal landscape surrounding a gambling hobby as well as help to steer them towards the safest means of taking part in one possible.
Legality of Gambling in Indiana
The State of Indiana actually expounds upon the federal laws with regards to gambling and goes to the lengths to both define and criminalize gambling. That’s the bad news. Indiana Code chapter 35-45-5-1 section one, heading d defines gambling as “risking money or other property for gain, contingent in whole or in part upon lot, chance.” Unfortunately, this is a fairy encompassing definition that eliminates the most popular forms of gambling. Additionally, the same Indiana Code goes on to classify the offense of “unlawful gambling” as a class B misdemeanor, which can land a resident in jail for 180 days and up to a $1,000 fine.
There is, however, good news. Although being caught gambling on land in Indiana does constitute a criminal act, it is not one that is actually prosecuted within the state. In fact, in the entire history of state legislation, no otherwise honest Indiana resident has ever been brought up on charges for merely gambling. While the letter of the law forbids it, the spirit and intent of gambling laws within the state are in place and always have been in place to attack those who would facilitate gambling, not mere participants.
However, this should not be taken to mean that gamblers living in Indiana have free reign with legal immunity when it comes to their gambling hobby. Residents of the Hoosier State need to take special care to not fall into the trap of “professional gambling,” which comes with incredibly steep legal penalties.
Chapter 35-45-5-3 of the Indiana gambling code classifies professional gambling as a Class D felony on just a first offense. This entails anywhere from six months to three years in a state prison, along with a $10,000. Any subsequent offenses are hit with a class C felony, which also carries a $10,000 fine but a jail sentence of up to eight years.
It goes without saying the Indiana residents should be extremely careful to avoid this crime.
What Is Professional Gambling? How Is It Different?
The good news for Indiana residents is that Indiana gambling laws offer several distinctions between what state legislation defines as “unlawful gambling” versus “professional gambling” besides just the hefty penalties attached to the latter and the fact that the former is really not prosecuted within the state.
In order to take part in “unlawful gambling” one must make a bet on a game of chance or some future event over which they have no control (think sports betting, or even betting on the outcome of something like a political race) and in order to place that bet, they have to give the money to someone. That person who takes the money is well on their way to being in the business of “professional gambling.”
How far on their way are they? Merely one stipulation. They must be in a position to make a profit off of the gambling event for which they are taking money. Keep in mind that this does not mean they are winning bets and wagers where the playing field is even for them and other participants, but that they stand in a position to make money even if they do not place any bets on the event.
The most popular means of doing this are by operating a table game as the “house,” (because in table games the house always has the highest chance of winning) operating a sportsbook in which they collect money on losing bets and assume the responsibility for paying out winning bets, or, in the context of a social poker game, either charging admission for the privilege to play or collecting a “rake” from the game. Rake is a small percentage of each pot collected as profit for the host of the game.
Just so long as an Indiana resident can avoid these very specific actions with related to gambling ,they should be able to avoid any and all negative attention associated with their new hobby.
Betting Laws In Indiana
When the federal government passed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection act of 1992 which effectively banned the facilitation of all sports betting in the United States, four states were exempt. Unfortunately, Indiana was not one of them. This being the case, there are no land based facilities in Indiana through which a resident may bet on a sports event.
However, the act of betting, just as the act of gambling in general in Indiana is not prosecuted, so if one finds a legal venue to bet, be it in a small group of friends with no “bookmaker” or over the internet, the law should have no cause to take up arms.
With the strict definition of “Professional Gambling” that Indiana endorses, casino games are nowhere to be found on land, at least in a legal, state sanctioned venue. The key work here is “land.” Indiana has sanctioned several riverboat casinos in which a resident may purchase a cruise ticket and spend all their time aboard the boat gambling on all means of casino games.
Still, these are often restrictive means of gambling and come with strict time limits. Indiana residents are already subject to a lax enforcement of gambling law, and are free to use the internet for casino games as well.
Due to the enormous popularity of poker and the money state sanctioned facilities bring in, many states allow room in their legislature for poker games to be allowed by defining them as “games of skill” rather than “games of chance.” Indiana does no such thing, claiming that poker is at least in part reliant on chance, and therefore fall under the definition of gambling.
However, if in Indiana resident deeply wishes to play poker in a casino environment, the riverboat casinos in Indiana are all open for business, and host many poker tables. It’s also worth noting that the Indiana legislation makes many exceptions for what they consider to be “social gambling.” A small poker game amongst friends would certainly seem to fall in this category. For poker in Indiana, while options are not ideal, when you take into account the riverboat casinos, an active social life and the internet, there is no reason a prospective player should not be able to find great poker action somewhere nearby.
Legal Gambling Age In Indiana
If there is one takeaway from long write-ups concerning Indiana gambling laws, it should be this: gambling is complicated in the legal sense. Although it’s possible, it’s really not a situation one should complicate further, therefore, we cannot recommend highly enough that one wait until they are at least 21 years of age before attempting to gamble in any of Indiana's land-based casinos.
If one is caught gambling underage in the state of Indiana, not only will they be subject to any punishments from the state, but whichever facility catches the minor gambling will surely place a ban on that person as well as seizing any winnings or funds already spent in the casino. In order to preserve both their criminal record and their bank account, we strongly recommend Indiana residents avoid underage gambling.
Indiana Gambling Options
On-Land: Although there are no state sanctioned, land based casinos in Indiana, there are several riverboat casinos available to Indiana residents all along the Ohio River. Aboard these boats, gamblers are able to participate in all forms of table games as well as slot machines and even poker. For all intents and purposes, these casinos function identically to any casino in Las Vegas.
For a few hours at least. Upon purchasing a ticket, prospective gamblers are entitled to a full cruise around the river, generally lasting about four to six hours. Although some casinos will allow gamblers to buy consecutive tickets, most will not, meaning your gambling experience is limited to an incredibly narrow window. Still, this is a preferable alternative to states who have no sanctioned gambling at all, and even if the options are narrow, it can still make for a fun afternoon out.
Online/Web-Based: What if someone interested in gambling who lives in Indiana wishes to gamble more frequently for a smaller period of time, or indeed to have the ability to gamble without investing in a riverboat ticket? The answer is on the internet.
Through the advent of legal online casinos, Indiana residents may gamble when, where, and however they like. It has already been established that while gambling in Indiana is technically illegal, it is not a prosecuted crime, which means that as long as Indiana residents are not engaged in professional gambling, they should be safe from the long arm of the law.
Now, one may be wondering how these online gambling networks are able to function legally in Indiana where professional gambling is such a heavy crime. They are able to pull this off by establishing themselves and operating overseas, in countries where gambling is legal. In foreign territories, they are well out of reach of not only Indiana, but federal jurisdiction, providing Indiana residents with a fully legal and legitimate operation through which they can gamble 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
While the thought of gambling with a foreign entity may make some prospective gamblers nervous, there is really no cause for alarm. In order for all of these websites to operate legally in their home countries, they must be certified by reputable international agencies such as the Kahnawake Gaming Commission. This not only assures fair play in all games and wagers with these sites, but efficient, secure, and speedy payouts as well.
Trusted Indiana Online Gambling Sites
Live Sports Betting, Big Poker Tourneys, 24-Hour Casino
When it comes time for you to select the perfect legal gambling site open to Indiana residents, you must take a few key aspects into consideration. To you want to place bets with the most reputable and complete sportsbook in the business? Perhaps you’d prefer access to hundreds of legal online poker rooms with a variety of stakes and tournaments, or maybe even an online casino with all kinds of table games and thousands of different slot machines. As you may have guessed, there’s no need to choose – Bovada has all three!
As the world leader in legal online gambling networks, Bovada has been providing a top notch product will stellar customer service to Indiana residents for well over 20 years. No website carries speedier or more reliable payouts, ensuring that you collect and keep your winnings faster than you can with any other gambling website. As often as once a month, Bovada will even cover all fess associated with a payout, meaning you get the most out of your winnings! Go on and sign up for Bovada, it’s risk free and you’re sure to love it.
Best Overall Betting Sites Taking Indiana Players
Still Have Questions? How To Get Additional Help:
Here at IndianaGamblingLaws.com we do not even pretend to be lawyers. While we are confident that all of the information on this page is accurate, it cannot be considered an official legal consult. If you have additional questions, please establish contact with a lawyer or pay a visit to the state's online legal code database where the exact language of Indiana gambling laws are on full display.