Indiana Casinos and Gambling

Short Summary: Indiana is fairly liberal when it comes to gambling laws.  The charitable gambling regulations are mostly reasonable, the state has a lottery and the casinos can offer whatever they like provided they are located in the water and close for at least two of every 24 hours.  There has been an exception made for one land casino, thus far, as well as one tribal casino. The only common forms of gambling not specifically legalized and regulated in the state are online gambling as well as sports betting.  Unlike Illinois, Indiana also does not have any slot parlors.

While they are conservative in other respects, Indiana is one of the more liberal states when it comes to Gaming. In fact, they were actually ahead of Ohio in this regard and pretty much did what the State of Illinois did as the Land of Lincoln did it. That seems pretty obvious as, with exception to the Limited Video Lottery, the two states are virtually indistinguishable from one another in terms of their offerings.

The following types of gambling can routinely be found in the state:

  • Charitable
  • Pari-Mutuel (Racetracks)
  • Lottery
  • Commercial

In terms of the racetracks, these would be horse racing tracks as greyhound racing is against the law in the State of Indiana and has been for several years. Indiana racetracks have the ability to offer both live and simulcast racing.

Indiana tracks charitable gambling activities fairly comprehensively, but despite that, they are also one of the cheaper states if you want to be an NPO or charity to offer charitable gaming. The initial fee for Charitable Gaming license is $50 for the first year with fees for the following years based on a sliding scale on how much was made during the previous year. With exception to this sliding scale for licenses in subsequent years, charitable gambling in the state is not otherwise taxed.

The State is pretty light on taxing racing operations as they only cut out 0.5% of all monies bet at simulcast. In terms of live racing, they only take 2% of all monies that are bet at the track at which the racing is taking place, and for all satellite betting locations for a track in the state, they take a cut of 2.5% of that handle. That’s pretty low in this regard compared to most other states who take a cut of profits that end up coming out to more than that.

Indiana allows what it terms, “Type II Gaming,” but all that really means is that some retailers and bars are allowed to sell pull tabs if they get a license. Aside from that, similarly to Illinois, Indiana has, “Riverboat,” casinos, which just requires that the casino be located on some body of water.

Legality Of Online Gambling In Indiana

The first thing to understand is that one’s own computer would fall under Indiana’s definition of, “Electronic Gaming Device,” even if the codes don’t specify, ‘Online,’ or, ‘Internet.’ The code defines Electronic Gaming Device thus:

It is a contrivance which for consideration affords the player an opportunity to obtain money or other items of value, the award of which is determined by chance even if accomplished by some skill, whether or not the prize is automatically paid by the contrivance.
It is a slot machine or any simulation or variation of a slot machine.
It is a matchup or lineup game machine or device operated for consideration, in which two (2) or more numerals, symbols, letters, or icons align in a winning combination on one (1) or more lines vertically, horizontally, diagonally, or otherwise, without assistance by the player. The use of a skill stop is not considered assistance by the player.
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.

Players who are gambling illegally could technically be found with a Class B Misdemeanor, but as a practical matter, we have never been able to uncover any instance of someone being arrested or fined for gambling online from within his/her own home and do not suspect that any such will ever happen.

The state is pretty tough on illegal operators, which have mostly been sports betting rings. They may be less so now that it is not a Federal offense, and they are now working to legalize sports betting through the Legislature. We expect that they will, but they probably won’t be in the second round of states to do so.

They do come down on unlawful gambling taking place in physical locations. While the players were left alone, one bar owner was arrested for hosting a poker game in his establishment with a small $20 buy-in. According to that story, the bar had also been open after hours, which was also part of the problem.

Either way, we are not aware of any instance of a player getting in any trouble for gambling online from home and do not expect anything along those lines to ever happen.

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Land Casinos In Indiana

Indiana casinos didn’t exist in their current form until the 1990s. Since then, the overall gambling industry within the state has grown at a slow rate to include a number of crowd-pleasing options.

To be clear, most of these casinos are Riverboat Casinos, but the state did authorize one strictly land-based casino, in French Lick, apparently having realized that the water rule is perhaps the stupidest thing in the world. Aside from that, the racetracks throughout the state are permitted to operate what are known as, “Racinos,” which means that they can have a limited number of slot machines. This is similar to the way that the racetrack racinos work in the State of Ohio and is essentially necessary for them to remain open.

Ameristar

Ameristar Casino Hotel is located in East Chicago, Indiana and is one of the larger casino-hotels in the state featuring a combined 288 rooms and suites. In addition to being one of the biggest in its own state, this room count is greater than that of any of the casino-hotels in neighboring Illinois. In Ohio, on the other side, the casinos do not have hotels directly connected to them.

This casino also has a greater count of slot machines than any of the other casinos in Illinois as it boasts over 1,700 machines on the property. This casino has a dedicated high-limit tables room, a dedicated Baccarat area and accepts bets of as much as $25,000 on Baccarat and $10,000 on other table games. There are a total of 72 tables, so it also outnumbers Illinois casinos in that regard and some of the games are BaccaratBlackjackCraps, EZ Baccarat, Three-Card Poker, EZ Pai-Gow, Roulette and High Card Flush. If you want to play one of the less common of these games, such as High Card Flush, we would recommend calling and seeing during what hours the game normally opens.

They have six unique dining establishments on the premises, ranging from casual to fine and are built to accommodate and cater weddings, events and conferences.

In my opinion, this falls just short of being a destination casino and is a really good business casino or neat place to stop by if you happen to be in the East Chicago area or are passing through. While larger than most of the Illinois casinos and with more offerings, this doesn’t even register as a destination that you would want to build a trip around, unless attending a wedding or a conference here.

Belterra Casino Resort

The Belterra Casino Resort is located in Florence, Indiana and is a Boyd Gaming property that falls under the BConnected rewards program. This is another fairly recent acquisition by the company as they continue to expand their gambling reach across the country whereas they were once pretty confined to Las Vegas.

The casino boasts over 1,100 slot machines, which makes it one of the larger casino floors in Indiana and puts it on par with any located in Illinois. The property also features a guest pool, salon/spa as well as a golf course.

This property also offers one of the few poker rooms that you are going to find anywhere in the state along with those 1,100 slot machines. High-Limit slots run all the way up to the $100 denomination, so this is a casino unafraid of possibly paying out a huge jackpot, though as part of Boyd Gaming, why should they be? Table Games include Craps, Crapless Craps, Blackjack, Roulette, High-Card Flush, No Commission Baccarat, Pai-Gow Poker, Let It Ride, Caribbean Stud, Three-Card Poker, Mississippi Stud, Crazy 4 Poker and Ultimate Texas Hold ‘Em.

If you noticed several fairly unusual table games, don’t be surprised. Boyd Gaming often focuses on offering a unique gaming experience to get people to the property. However, if you want to check out some of the more untypical games, we recommend that you go during the busiest hours (such as weekend evenings) or to call and see what hours your game of choice is generally open.

This establishment has almost five restaurants from casual to upscale as well as a buffet and expansive food court.

The salon is full service and the property features a showroom, ballroom and are capable of handling weddings, conferences and events up to virtually any size. There may not be a destination casino-resort in the State of Indiana, but this gorgeous property is about as close as you’re going to get and is worth checking out if you’re within one-three states away (especially if your state doesn’t have casinos). There’s something for just about everyone here.

Blue Chip Casino

Blue Chip Casino is located in Michigan City, Indiana, which is essentially just a suburb of Chicago, Illinois. This property is another Boyd Gaming property.

With nearly 500 guest rooms and a full-service Salon and Spa, the only casino property likely to rival Boyd Gaming’s Belterra property in the entire state is Blue Chip Casino. The property features over 1,700 machines as well as fifty table and live poker games. Table games include Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, Caribbean Stud Poker, Three Card Poker, Mississippi Stud, Ultimate Texas Hold ’em. If you’re a fan of any of the less common of these games, you’ll want to either hit the casino floor during its busiest hours or call ahead to see if your game will be open when you plan to be there.

Finally, this resort also features a golf course.

Four Winds South Bend

Located in South Bend, Indiana, of course, this casino is owned and operated by the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians. Other than the gaming, this property features five dining establishments, three bars and a small clothing store called Four Winds Outfitters.

The property features about 1,600 machines with a maximum high-limit denomination of $25. The casino also has a small poker room, but it appears no other tables games.

French Lick Resort Casino

Located in French Lick, Indiana, this opulent resort features multiple hotel buildings, including two that cost a combined half a billion dollars to renovate! Aside from that, the French Lick Golf Course is one of the premier golf courses in the entire country as the resort spares no expense (and neither do you) to enjoy a top quality golfing experience. This is definitely THE premiere destination in Indiana if you are looking for a resort that also has gambling options.

In terms of summation, I’ll just let them speak for themselves:

Nestled among the hills of the Hoosier National Forest resides a classic American destination: French Lick Resort. Home to two nationally historic hotels, three challenging golf courses, two rejuvenating spas, impressive meeting venues and a spacious, single-level casino, our resort is family-friendly, business-competent and perfect for a planned or impromptu getaway.

Step into chic American sophistication that caters to the family at French Lick Springs Hotel. Our KidsFest program provides plenty of organized activities for guests’ children, giving mom and dad a chance to pursue more grown-up leisure; maybe retail therapy at The Promenade of Shoppes, a round of golf on a championship course, or a historic hotel tour featuring tales of famous guests. At the end of the day, gather the crew together and enjoy a trip on the iconic trolley, maybe some fast-paced bowling at Pluto’s Alley or an adventure at one of the hiking, biking or horse trails across the resort. And don’t forget your four-legged companions — French Lick Resort is one of the most pet-friendly hotels in the Midwest with designated pet-friendly rooms at each hotel.

Like I said, if there is one place in Indiana that you want to make a vacation destination and a casino is one of your requirements, this is your answer.

It is important to understand that the casino is really more of an amenity in this resort, rather than the core focus. One might expect a casino in a resort of this scope to have over 100 table games, but this one has 37 which include Blackjack, Craps, Mini-Baccarat, Mississippi Stud, Texas Hold ‘Em Bonus, Three-Card Poker, Roulette Crazy 4 Poker and High Card Flush.

Hollywood Casino Lawrenceburg

Located in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, this is just another, “If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all,” Hollywood Casino property. This is located just west of Cincinnati, Ohio and competes almost directly with them for Cincy residents as well as competing with the bordering state of Kentucky. If you’re wondering why this casino should look at all unique, it is because it was originally built as an Argosy Casino and ran as such until Penn National Gaming took them over.

This casino features a very large hotel and room packages usually come with dining credits as well as free play which somewhat offset the base costs of the room. In addition to the poker room, this casino features more than 1,400 combined video poker and slot machines as well as a few dozen table games including Craps, Blackjack, Roulette, Mississippi Stud, Ultimate Texas Hold ‘Em and High Card Flush.

As with almost every other Hollywood there is, this property features dining locations such as the Final Cut Steakhouse and Epic Buffet, who would have guessed, right? I guess having anything remotely distinguishing one of your properties from any one of your others is overrated anyway. They do have meetings and events space, but not much else within the casino, aside from the casino itself, that would constitute something to do for such groups.

Hoosier Park

Hoosier Park is a racino located in Anderson, Indiana, which enables it to provide guests with live and simulcast racing as well as Indiana Video Lottery Terminals. This is pretty similar to the racinos in Ohio such as Belterra Park and Scioto Downs, to name a few.

This property is branded also as a Harrah’s or Harrah’s Hoosier Park and is part of the Caesars Entertainment Total Rewards family. Interestingly, that makes the small place linked to one of the biggest casino companies in the country. It seems odd, because CET usually wouldn’t mess around with a racetrack and tends to focus on flat out casinos.

Hoosier Park offers some 600 slot machines and they are capable of offering electronic table games even though, as a racino, they may not offer live ones. As of the time of this writing, they have electronic Baccarat, Blackjack, Craps and Roulette available.

Live racing runs from late March to early November with simulcast betting available around the calendar.

Horseshoe Southern Indiana

Horseshoe Southern Indiana is set in what appears to be a colonial mansion, similar to the Hollywood (formerly Argosy) and is located in Elizabeth, Indiana. This is another Caesars Entertainment property, and as such, falls under the Total Rewards branded players clubs. This property has a pool, spa and a few shops, one of which is called Accents.

The rates are fairly cheap in the off-season with rack rates as low as $55 just now when this writer checked and the expansive gaming floor offers 1,650 slot machines and video poker games, combined. Among the table games offered are Blackjack, Roulette, Craps, Mini Baccarat, Pai Gow Poker, Crazy 4 Poker and High Card Flush. This property also features a poker room with thirty tables.

We always recommend that if your table game of choice is less common than something like Blackjack, Craps or Roulette to call ahead and make sure your game of choice would normally be open at the time that you are wanting to play. This property also consists of both casual and upscale dining with three of the former as well as one upscale restaurant. There are also two little food shops and cafes if you just need something quick.

This casino is not exactly a destination until itself, but if you are going to be in that general region anyway, it would be an excellent place to stay or visit.

Horseshoe Casino Hammond

Horseshoe Casino Hammond, more commonly known as Horseshoe Hammond is another Caesars Entertainment property which is part of the Total Rewards players club program, because why wouldn’t it be?

While this is far from being a resort, it is a sizable casino boastin in excess of 1,500 slots as well as over 100 table games tables. This should come as no surprise as Hammond is basically just a suburb of Chicago in neighboring Illinois. This property also has a poker room.

Table games that are offered include Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, Baccarat, Pai-Gow Poker, Pai-Gow Tiles, Three-Card Poker, Four-Card Poker, Mississippi Stud, Ultimate Texas Hold ‘Em, Texas Hold ‘Em Bonus, Caribbean Poker, High Card Flush, Sic Bo and a Big 6 Wheel.

At any given time the table is running, this might be the only casino in the entire State of Indiana with a Pai-Gow Tiles table going. Again, if your fancy is an uncommon table game, just remember that these are not open all the time, so you might want to call and see when you can usually expect to find it open.

This facility also features a buffet, two casual restaurants and one upscale restaurant.

Indiana Grand Casino

Can it be, a casino or racino that is not owned by a major company? Nope. Indiana Grand, “Casino,” is a racino that is also owned and operated by Caesars Entertainment and its players club, here comes a surprise, falls under the umbrella of total rewards.

Located in Shelbyville, Indiana, this racetrack and racino does not have its own hotel, but there are quite a few to choose from in the area. Racing runs from later-March to early-November and the racetrack offers the only live thoroughbred and quarter horse racing in the entire state.

They have some slots and video poker. Racinos in the state are not permitted to offer live table games, but this racino does have electronic craps, blackjack and roulette.

Majestic Star and Majestic Star II

If you find yourself in Gary, Indiana, first my apologies, and then second you might want to pop over to the Majestic Star or Majestic Star II located in town. The Harbor View Buffet accepts cash sales only, and states that very clearly on their website, so that should give you some idea of what you are in for here.

The hotel also has some special prices sometimes for people who are paying cash. The less you know about the guests, the better, I suppose. This casino has well over 1,000 slots, but please keep in mind that no bags are allowed on the casino floor, I swear to God I am not making this up. That’s not even a big deal in and of itself, no bags on the floor at Rivers Casino Pittsburgh, either, but they don’t feel the need to put that in big special lettering on their website!

Table Games include Baccarat, Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, Texas Hold ‘Em Bonus, Mississippi Stud, Three-Card Poker, Let it Ride and High Card Flush. They also have a poker room.

If you are planning to see just how majestic the Majestic Star is, good luck and Godspeed.

Rising Star Casino Resort

The Rising Star Casino Resort is located in, appropriately enough, Rising Sun, Indiana. They have an indoor pool, spa, sauna and Scottish-style golf club, so things are looking good so far. They are owned and operated by Full House Resorts, a small casino company who operates five casinos spread throughout the country, with two in Nevada.

The casino features over 1,000 slot machines and video poker device as well as table games including Blackjack, Crazy 4 Poker, Roulette, Craps, Crapless Craps, Spanish 21, Three-Card Poker, Let it Ride and Mississippi Stud. While tables are open 24/7, if you enjoy playing one of the less common games, you might want to call and make sure it is generally open during the times that you are planning to play.

They have recently started a ferry called Ms. Lucky Lady that offers one-way and round-trip rides to Rabbit Hash, Kentucky. Why anyone would want to go there I have no idea, but ferries are undeniably cool.

The property has just opened a new RV Park and has a buffet, an upscale restaurant called, “Wellington’s,” a casual restaurant and finally, a brewpub. They have a golf course and are also a great destination for a meeting, conference or event. Definitely worth a look if you’re ever in the area.

I’m not going to lie, I’d stop by just to ride the ferry.

Tropicana Evansville

Tropicana Evansville is located in a city of the same name and is owned by the ever-growing El Dorado Resorts who own somewhat nearby casinos such as Scioto Downs Racino (Ohio), Lady Luck Nemacolin (Pennsylvania) Mountaineer Casino and Resort (West Virginia) and Presque Isle Downs (Pennsylvania). This is right there with the Tropicana Evansville hotel which the website for some reason markets as if it were a different place entirely.

They have over 1,000 slots ranging in denomination from $0.01 to $100 as well as table games including Blackjack, High Card Flush, Mini-Baccarat, Mississippi Stud, Roulette, Ultimate Texas Hold ‘Em, and Three Card Poker. The poker room, when it is open, features Omaha as well as Texas Hold ‘Em, we recommend calling or checking their website for poker hours as well as calling to check the hours if you enjoy one of the less common table games.

There are five dining options available (including the buffet).

Indiana Lottery

The Indiana lottery is unique due to the fact that the state moniker is used as its official name, which is why it’s called the “Hoosier Lottery.” Based in the capital of Indianapolis and a member of the Multi-State Lottery Commission, this game of chance offers both local and multi-state drawings to bring in billions of dollars in revenue. The minimum age for participation is 18.

The state’s history with lotteries goes back to 1807 when Vincennes University tried to raise money for a library. Lotteries were banned as part of the constitutional convention of 1851, although an amendment would lift the ban in 1988 and see sales begin the following year.

The following draw games are currently offered across the state:

  • Daily 3 – Offering 13 drawings throughout the week, this game made its debut in 1990.
  • Daily 4 – First played in 1990, this game features 13 drawings per week.
  • Cash 5 – A $1 game with drawings held nightly. Players select 5 numbers and try to get as many matches as possible from a field of 41.
  • Quick Draw – Similar to keno, this game requires the player to buy a ticket for $1 and choose 10 numbers ranging from 1 to 80. Twenty numbers are drawn, and getting 10 matches results in a payout of $300,000.
  • Poker Lotto – This two-part game costs $2 and debuted in 2013. The first part requires the player to get a winning poker hand on their ticket, while the second part involves a nightly drawing.
  • Hoosier Lotto – The first lottery in the state, it costs $1 per ticket and has drawings every Wednesday and Saturday.
  • Powerball – A multi-state lottery with two drawings per week.
  • Mega Millions – A multi-state lottery offered in Indiana since 2010.

Slot Machine Ownership

According to Indiana Code 35-45-5-4, private citizens may own slot machines as long as the devices are at least 40 years old. These machines are only allowed to be displayed or operated in a private residence for “decorative, historic, or nostalgic purposes,” and they cannot be used to generate a profit.

Conclusion & Prognosis

The prognosis for sports betting and online gambling is that we expect Indiana to eventually authorize the former, probably within two-five years and will probably never legalize and regulate online gambling. That’s surprising because it’s a revenue stream for the state, and more than that, it would be really easy to do as they already have a few operators in the state that have an online casino presence elsewhere in the United States.

If you want to gamble online in your own home, we cannot imagine a scenario in which you would ever get in trouble for doing so, it certainly hasn’t happened yet.

Aside from that, any form of gaming that you could ever want is already available in the state. Live racing is conducted during certain times of the year and simulcast is available otherwise. Unfortunately if that is your thing, there aren’t terribly many racetracks in the state, especially considering the fact that the state consists of a lot of rural area. There are casinos pretty well spread throughout, so nobody should have any problem there. When it comes to overall games, they basically have anything anyone could ever want in one place or another.

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