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Indiana Poker Laws: Everything You Need to Know

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If you’re looking for information on Indiana poker laws, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we will discuss the gambling laws in Indiana and what you need to know about playing poker in the state.

So whether you’re a resident of Indiana or just visiting, read our guide before hitting the casino or card tables!

Where to Play Online Poker in Indiana

Looking to play poker in Indiana? Check out our list of the best Indiana poker sites!

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Available Countries
Accepts US players
More Info
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  • Poker
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  • Roulette
  • Live Dealer
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Features
  • Great gaming library
  • Numerous tournaments
  • Hefty welcome bonus
  • Additional bonuses for crypto users

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Is Online Gambling Illegal In Indiana?

US Congress

Indiana has some of the strictest laws in the United States regarding online gambling. The state was one of the first to move to make it illegal, and it is now a felony to either own and operate an online poker room or play any game at an online casino.

However, there are still some ways to gamble legally in Indiana. For example, the state allows for licensed horse and dog racing and riverboat gambling. So if you’re looking to bet in Indiana, check the law before you do anything.

Indiana Poker and Gambling Laws

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.

Indiana Poker Gambling Law Resources

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.

Short History of Gambling in Indiana

indiana poker game

Lotteries were explicitly prohibited in Indiana’s first constitution, which was adopted in 1851. For the next 130 years, lawmakers opposed casino games of chance and steadfastly defended their position until a state lottery with funds earmarked for educational uses was permitted by legislators.

The sale proved extremely popular almost immediately, and the state began selling state players in multi-state Powerball contests instead of scratch-off tickets.

Indiana was a favorite destination for illegal gaming options during the hectic days of Prohibition when legendary mobsters ran speakeasies and gin houses across the Midwest. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, East Chicago, Indiana, was a popular layover for illicit games.

It wasn’t until relentless violence between rival gangs tipped off authorities to unlawful gaming parlors that they were shut down.

The lottery was so popular in 1992 that the people voted favorably on a referendum to expand legal gambling by 60%, with an overwhelming majority of support (60%). Still, Republican state officials stymied the expansion effort after another four years.

In 1991, lawmakers in the Indiana statehouse attempted to pass a bill allowing only licensed riverboats to operate in the state. The effort fell apart after it was passed by a senate committee in 1991. It was not until 1993 that legislation permitting five riverboat casinos was approved to help balance the state’s budget.

Racetrack fans were given a leg up on their favorite activity with the opening of Hoosier Park Horse Racing Track, which allowed both on-track betting and pari-mutuel betting on its races.

This would be the first of five remote horse race betting sites authorized by the state. In 2002, each racing facility was also given permission to install anywhere from 2,000 to 2,999 slot machines at each location.

Finally, as previously said, in 2011, the state began working towards legislation to allow for a land-based casino complex.

The Future of Gambling in Indiana

Gambling has been a part of Indiana’s history for many years, and it shows no signs of slowing down. Currently, there are several casinos operating in the state, and many more are in the process of being built.

The future of gambling in Indiana looks very bright, and the state is quickly becoming a destination for casino-goers from all over the country.

One reason for the continued success of gambling in Indiana is the state’s commitment to regulating the industry. The Indiana Gaming Commission is responsible for ensuring that all casinos are operated in a fair and safe manner, and they have strict rules in place to protect both players and casino operators.

The commission is also constantly working to improve the overall gaming experience in the state, and they have been very successful in recent years.

 

Final Thoughts

Gambling is a popular pastime in Indiana, and the state offers a wide variety of options for those looking to gamble. However, it’s important to be aware of the Indiana poker laws before you start playing.

The laws governing gambling in Indiana are designed to protect players and ensure that the games are fair.

By understanding the Indiana poker laws, you can help keep yourself and other players safe while enjoying a game of poker. Thanks for reading, and we hope this information was helpful. Good luck!

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the most frequently asked questions about Indiana Poker Laws.

How Do the Current Laws Affect Players Living in Indiana?

Indiana’s poker laws are pretty simple gambling is illegal unless it is specifically authorized by the state. This means that to play poker legally in Indiana, you must be playing at a licensed casino.

There are only a handful of casinos in the state, and they are all located on Native American land. As a result, playing poker in Indiana can be a bit of a challenge for residents. A few online poker sites take players from Indiana, but these are not regulated by the state and may not be lawful.

What Are the Chances of Online Poker Being Legalized in Indiana? Indiana residents have long been passionate about poker. However, the state’s laws regarding gambling are relatively restrictive, and there has been little movement towards legalizing online poker. However, given the popularity of poker in Indiana, it is likely that there will be continued efforts to legalize online poker in the future. Only time will tell whether these efforts will be successful.

About the Author

Sadonna Price
Author Sadonna is a mom of two and an avid poker player who also enjoys online casino games. She has been part of the online gambling industry for over a decade, working as a news and blog writer. Sadonna still plays Texas hold’em in her free time while her daily job revolves around providing insights into the online gambling world using her creativity and writing skills.
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