Online Poker and Gaming Bills Proposed in Kentucky, Indiana, New Hampshire

January 27, 2023
Online Poker and Gaming Bills Proposed in Kentucky, Indiana, New Hampshire

With New York already making some efforts toward the legalization of online poker, a few more states seem to be making some movement in that direction.

Legislators in Indiana, Kentucky, and New Hampshire have all introduced online poker bills as well. That offers a chance to see some other states to join the five states currently offering online poker.

Two years ago, Kentucky and Indiana introduced online poker bills. That didn’t produce legalization but there is at least some hope again for 2023.

With the dynamic US online gambling industry rapidly expanding, this year may produce more success stories. In the US, online poker is currently live and legal in the following states:

West Virginia and Connecticut have also approved online poker but no operators have launched there. Here’s a look at the three states currently considering legalization.

Indiana online poker/casino moving forward

Sports betting has already become popular since it became legal in the Hoosier state in 2019. Now Rep. Ethan Manning (R) has filed an assembly bill (1536) that would launch online casino gaming and poker by Sept. 1. 

Indiana has a population of nearly 7 million, meaning it could be a nice addition to any shared liquidity pool. The bill includes online lottery, and allows Indiana’s 14 casinos and racinos to offer online gaming and poker. 

Feb. 27 is a key date, the deadline for House bills to cross over to the Senate. The Senate must pass bills originating in the House by April 18.

With some of the barriers to online casino legislation removed, and Manning the new chairman of public policy, Sen. Jon Ford is more confident this year’s bill can pass. Ford serves as president of the National Council of Legislators from gaming states. 

“It’s been a long two years for us,” Ford told PlayUSA. “We had redistricting and other controversial topics, and elections, so I think some of our leaders were pretty nervous about what this would do for their reelection. So, we’ll see. Now that we’ve got past that, I’m optimistic. We’ll try to get some grassroots efforts and hear from constituents whether they want this or not.”

Kentucky making a move at online poker

Last year lawmakers in Kentucky failed to pass an online poker and sports betting bill. Now Democratic lawmakers are taking another swing with House Bill 106.

The bill was introduced earlier this month by floor leader Derrick Graham. If passed, the bill would add 26 amendments to the current law and enact 13 new sections related to online sports, poker, and fantasy gambling.

Operators pursuing a license would need to prove an effective use of geo tracking software for online poker for the state’s nearly 4.5 million residents. Age verification software must also be provided to ensure players are at least age 18.

New Hampshire quietly introduces iGaming bill

A New Hampshire Senate Bill (104) was introduced earlier this month. Sen. Timothy Lang (R) referred it to the Senate Ways and Means Committee, of which he chairs. 

If passed, the act would take effect Jan. 1, 2024, and regulate online gambling for New Hampshire’s 1.4 million residents.

Fewer details are available including number of operators, tax rates, or license fee. But net proceeds would be directed to a community college education scholarship fund.

Shared liquidity?

None of the bills so far mention shared liquidity and interstate compacts. That could change if these bills progress through the legislative process.

Indiana and Kentucky could perhaps support a ringed-in market, but that seems unlikely for New Hampshire. Delaware only has 1 million residents but is part of the only interstate compact with New Jersey and Nevada.

If the industry can run the table and see legalization in all three of these states plus New York, that could potentially add almost 33 million to the US online poker player pool.

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