Indiana State Flag IconFederal law does not prohibit online gambling. The UIGEA law of 2006 does not prohibit USA players from participating in legally licensed and certified online gambling. This law simply places regulatory oversight concerning how online gambling transactions can be processed. Indiana gambling law does address the issue of online gambling except for their newly enacted sports betting laws. It is a felony crime to operate any form of online poker room or casino within the state of Indiana. Processing payments from such an activity is also a criminal offense.

However, the law does not specifically prohibit participating in online gambling. It only addresses the issue of online gambling from the operator perspective. It is silent on the issue of those who engage in online gambling as mere players. While online gambling operations cannot operate within state boundaries legally, there are multiple legally licensed Indiana online gambling sites that are regulated and located outside of the United States. These sites span a range of gambling venues, including Indiana online casinos, poker rooms and sports betting sites accepting Indiana players.

Definition of Gambling According To Indiana Gambling Laws

Under Indiana gambling law, gambling refers to any bet made on anything that involves an element of chance and includes the use of any gambling device. The definition of a gambling device under Indiana gambling law includes:

  • any mechanism which credits right to money or property in exchange for consideration as a result of the operation of an element of chance
  • any mechanism that is operated for consideration but does not return the same anything of the same value upon each operation
  • any fixture, furniture, construction, mechanism or installation designed mainly for use in relation to professional gambling
  • any policy wheel or ticket
  • any essential part of a gambling device

Knowingly or intentionally engaging in any form of gambling that isn’t permitted by state law is referred to as unlawful gambling, a class B misdemeanor offense. The law provides stiffer penalties for those involved in the operation or running of illegal gambling businesses. Under Indiana law, professional gambling does not refer to gambling for a living. Instead, it is the term used to describe an operation of illegal gambling. Professional gambling is a class D felony.

Other Indiana Gambling Pages

Indiana Poker Gambling Laws

Home poker games are illegal in the state of Indiana. While the law provides an exemption for games of skill, Indiana gambling law does not consider poker a game of skill. Hence all forms of social poker games including ones where the host does not rake the pot or charge a fee are illegal. Indiana players do have the option of playing poker at legal Indiana online poker sites which are located and regulated outside of United States borders.

History of Gambling For Indiana

Indiana has a long history of gambling. Way back in the late 1800s and the early 1900s there were laws that prohibited gambling. However, gambling still existed but it was simple and rare. Pari-mutuel wagering is legal in Indiana. It was legalized in 1988. Until then there was a constitutional ban on lotteries. The Indiana Supreme Court had held that lotteries encompassed racing. A referendum was held in 1988 and 62 percent of the voters voted in favor of legalizing lotteries. This cleared the way for setting up the state lottery known as the Hoosier Lottery. The first Hoosier Lottery tickets were sold in 1989. The referendum also cleared the way for setting up of the Indiana Horse Racing Commission to oversee pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing.

Indiana Charitable Gambling Laws

Charitable gambling is legal in Indiana. Qualified organizations can conduct charitable gambling events. Qualified organizations include bona fide non-profit educational, civic, religious, veterans or senior citizen organizations operating in the state, is exempt under Section 501 of the Internal Revenue Code and has been in continuous existence in the state for 5 years or more or is affiliated to a parent organization that has been in existence in the state for 5 years or more. Bonafide political organizations operating in the state, as well as state educational institutions, are considered as qualified organizations. However, the events that can be conducted as part of charitable gambling are limited to:

  • Bingo
  • Raffle
  • Charity Game Night
  • Door Prize Drawing
  • Festival
  • Sale of Tip Board, Punchboards or Pull Tabs
  • Water race event
  • Guessing game event
  • Any other game of chance for fundraising that is approved by the Indiana Gaming Commission
  • Indiana Land-Based Casino Gambling Laws

Players interested in playing bingo outside of charitable gambling can consider learning more about Indiana online bingo for legal and secure options of playing bingo online.

Indiana Land Based Gambling Laws

Casinos were not allowed in Indiana until 1993. The Riverboat Gaming Act was passed in 1993 allowing 10 riverboat casinos to be set up in the state. The first riverboat casino opened to the public in 1995. In 2004 the law was amended to increase the number of riverboat casinos in the state. Eventually, land-based casinos were allowed. Today there are 13 casinos in the state. Two of them are racinos – the combination of racetracks and casinos. These casinos offer a wide range of games including poker, video poker, table games, slot games, and keno. In 2012 an Indian tribe wanted to set up an off-reservation in the state but the Governor did not sign the compact that would have set a precedent for other tribes wishing to build off-reservation casinos in the state. In 2019 the state of Indiana enacted domestic sports betting laws and now have domestic and online sports betting services available to residents and visitors.

Indiana Gambling Laws & Statutes

Players and gamblers who are interested in reviewing the Indiana gambling laws and statutes in their original legislative context can reference this site: Indiana State Legislature. You’ll find the laws in their original language precisely as they were passed.

Indiana Online Gambling Law FAQs

What are the consequences of illegal gambling in the state of Indiana?

If you are arrested for illegal gambling or operating a gambling device, you will be charged with a class B misdemeanor. Class B misdemeanors in Indiana will place in jail for up to 180 days and make you subject to up to $1000 in fines. The state law in Indiana is even harder on the individual who would use illegal gambling to make a profit. Termed “professional gambling”, a person would receive a class D felony. A class D felony results in at least 6 months and up to 3 years in prison.

How does the state define illegal gambling?

The first note on this topic that is important to delineate is that it doesn’t address gambling over the internet in any way and because of that lack of definition, gambling online is in no way illegal. Now, the state of Indiana defines illegal gambling as “any bet made on anything that involves an element of chance and includes the use of any gambling device.”

Can I play a home game of poker in Indiana?

No. Most states have exceptions to their gambling laws that allow for what’s called “social gambling” where no one rakes the pot or makes a profit outside of their winnings from the game itself. Indiana does not allow social gambling, which means your private poker games for real money are illegal.

Are there any legal gambling options in Indiana?

Charitable gambling remains legal in Indiana. Certain organizations that meet specific qualifications can provide gambling events in the name of fundraising for their causes. A charitable organization might be a non-profit that works on veteran’s issues, in some educational operations, on religious or senior citizen programs. There are also 13 casinos in the state with two of them officially being termed “Racinos” because they have pari-mutuel horse track betting. There are also the legally licensed offshore online gambling websites that are legal for every citizen in the state of Indiana to enjoy at their own leisure.

What is pari-mutuel gambling?

The primary form of wagering at horse and dog tracks around the world. In pari-mutuel gambling, the participants place their bets into a pot before the race begins and are essentially betting against one another with the track only taking a small fee from each race.

What is the legal gambling age in Indiana?

In the state of Indiana, you will be given the privilege of legally gambling at the proper establishments when you turn 18 for pari-mutuel gambling and 21 for gambling in casinos and charitable events.


**This page is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as or a substitute for professional legal advice or services. We are not lawyers and are unable to provide any type of legal services. If you are seeking legal advice or professional interpretation of any law or statute, we recommend that you contact a lawyer.