Let‘s start with the definition of gambling in Indiana:
“(d) “Gambling” means risking money or other property for gain, contingent in whole or in part upon lot, chance, or the operation of a gambling device, but it does not include participating in:
(1) bona fide contests of skill, speed, strength, or endurance in which awards are made only to entrants or the owners of entries; or
(2) bona fide business transactions that are valid under the law of contracts.” (1)
So we know that poker would fit the definition itself, as it states that this need only be in part contingent upon lot, and the outcome of risking money at poker is certainly contingent upon lot to some degree, as the lay of the cards does end up being a determining factor.
So whether this element of chance is substantial enough for the game to be found to be substantially one of chance isn’t of any consequence here, at least to the game fitting the definition itself.
As far as the stated exclusions go, it certainly doesn’t fit the one referring to business contracts, but is it saved by being a bona fide contest of skill? Well while some may argue that skill is an important element in the game of poker, and that it may indeed be a bona fide contest of skill in spite of the element of chance present, the second part of this, the part about awards being made to the participants would at least disqualify cash game poker from being saved by this exclusion.
On the other hand, poker tournaments may be seen as games of skill and also have the element of awards being given to the participants, so at least an argument could be made that tournament poker would therefore not consist of gambling in Indiana
The definition of bona fide skill could be understood as referring only to those contests which did not include any element of chance, but if so, we may wonder why it would be necessary to make such a provision as this already would not fit the definition of gambling.
How This May Apply To Real Money Online Poker
Operating a gambling device also consists of gambling in Indiana, so let’s look at their definition of that:
“(4) It is a video game machine or device operated for consideration to play poker, blackjack, any other card game, keno, or any simulation or variation of these games, including any game in which numerals, numbers, pictures, representations, or symbols are used as an equivalent or substitute for the cards used in these games.” (2)
So this is worded in such a way as to at least seem to include playing poker on a computer, as it would not normally be considered a gambling device but it may be when it is operated as such, to play poker for money that is. So this may end up making all poker playing online illegal in Indiana.
So the law also addresses operators, but not players, from using the internet to gamble, although players doing so may already qualify as operating a gambling device:
(a) A person who knowingly or intentionally engages in gambling commits unlawful gambling.
(b) Except as provided in subsection (c), unlawful gambling is a Class B misdemeanor.
(c) An operator who knowingly or intentionally uses the Internet to engage in unlawful gambling:
(1) in Indiana; or
(2) with a person located in Indiana;
commits a Class D felony (3)
So while the law against playing poker and playing online poker in Indiana isn’t as clear as it is in some states, there is every reason to believe that playing online poker is illegal, playing live cash game poker would be as well, and possibly live tournament poker. People from Indiana continue to play online poker though as even if it is illegal the law is not being enforced as it isn’t in any state right now actually.
Playing Poker In Indiana
There are a total of 9 poker rooms where you can play live poker in Indiana. They include the Ameristar Casino in East Chicago (12 tables), the Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City (8 tables), the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond (34 tables), the Indiana Grand Casino in Shelbyville (10 tables), the Tropicana in Evansville (10 tables), the Belterra Casino in Florence (9 tables), the Hollywood Casino Indiana in Lawrenceburg (19 tables), the Horseshoe Casino Southern Indiana in Elizabeth (30 tables), and the Majestic Star Casino in Gary (21 tables). (4)
So the live poker scene in Indiana is pretty thriving, with several larger venues and several large casino operations being represented.
Apart from these live poker rooms, residents of Indiana also have access to all of the major online poker rooms that offer play to Americans these days.
Our top recommendations for online poker players from Indiana, or for those who have yet to experience the fun and excitement of online poker but want to give it a try, are Ignition Poker and America’s Cardroom.
Both of these online poker rooms have been offering a very good poker experience to players from Indiana for several years now and they make it easy to get started if you don’t already have an account at one or both.
Both sites offer generous welcome bonuses for first time depositors, with Ignition offering a really nice 100% up to $1,000 bonus for new players, as well as a FREE $5 casino chip just for signing up. It’s out most recommended poker site for users out in Indiana.
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