In Indiana, you can only gamble as far as you can carry your smartphone for sports betting and casinos for electronic games and table games.
There are three bills under review by Indiana lawmakers at the Statehouse that would expand Indiana gambling to allow other companies to set up electronic gaming machines in their facilities, provided that it is a non-profit liquor licensed entity from the state .
Brad Klopfenstein, president of the Licensed Beverage Association, says this is a step in the right direction, but he would prefer the bills to go a little further.
"Right now, all three include the nonprofits," Klopfenstein told Indy Politics. "So that would be things like the Columbia Club, the Antelope Club, the American Legion or VFW."
Klopfenstein believes that any establishment, whether for-profit or non-profit, can participate in e-gaming as long as it has an alcohol permit.
“For your little neighborhood bar, that means an extra $ 50,000 in your pocket,” he said. "That's enough money to make it through 2022. You could upgrade your bathroom or buy a new sign."
Those against the bills say they don't believe Indiana should continue to build on the gambling that the state has had in recent years with sports betting and the movement of casinos like one in Terre Haute.
Klopfenstein does not understand this argument.
"I mean, you can play sports anywhere on your phone from anywhere in Indiana," he added. "Technically, a bar is already being played. The difference is that the bar owners do not get any of this income."
Some have also said that expanding e-gaming to bars would take money away from casinos. Klopfenstein says that's not exactly the case because people don't just go to casinos to play. He says they will experience a casino atmosphere.
"It's very different than putting a couple of machines in a corner and letting a man sitting there have a cocktail before he goes home, ten dollars and see if he can win," said Klopfenstein .
It is not yet clear how much support the statehouse legislation has.