Legal Indiana Gambling / Poker Laws

Indiana Poker Laws

Is Online Poker / Gambling Legal in Indiana?

In The Hoosier State, the crime of gambling does not include what the state code calls “bona fide contests of skill, speed, strength, or endurance in which awards are made only to entrants or the owners of entries,” which would normally give poker players hope for legal poker. Unfortunately, the state government does not consider poker a game of skill, thanks to the luck of the draw. Since Indiana consider poker a game of chance, the game is essentially illegal in most forms. Outside of specific exceptions to Indiana state poker law [], the game is illegal all over the state.

Indiana Casino Poker

Indiana has generally strict anti-gambling policies throughout their penal code, but the state does have a handful of casinos in operation as of this writing. Indiana casinos are allowed to host slot machines, table games, video poker, keno, and just about any poker variant you can imagine. In fact, if you want to play poker in Indiana, these casinos are the only place where you are allowed to play the game you love.

Right now, the state of Indiana is dotted with ten privately-owned casinos, each of which has poker tables. Because competition is fierce, these casinos are really nice resort-style properties, and poker players report a wide variety of gaming options, including Texas holdem, Omaha, Stud, and Hi/Lo variants. The nice thing about playing poker in a traditional casino is that you have the security and authority of the casino at your back, unlike at a private game.

Are Home Poker Games Legal in Indiana?

For the most part, Americans are allowed to play private poker games as long as they follow certain restrictions on the state law books. Generally speaking, if the host of the game isn’t turning a profit by charging entry fees or selling food and drink, then those games are fully legal. Not so in Indiana, a state where there are no legal home poker contests. Read state law IC 35-45-5-2, called “Unlawful gambling.” It says plainly, “A person who knowingly or intentionally engages in gambling commits unlawful gambling.” In the state of Indiana, unlawful gambling carries a hefty penalty: a class D felony charge, which can mean prison time.

Indiana’s penal code is explicit about the legality of home poker games: the state government is not interested in allowing its citizens to participate in any home gambling. As is often the case, however, you can find private poker games within state lines, mostly as part of some charitable organization or fundraiser. These groups have to earn a specific license from the state to offer poker games, bingo, or other gambling to raise money.

Learn About Other State Laws

Online Poker in Indiana

Indiana has some of the most strict anti-online poker laws of any state in the USA. When online gambling started to become popular, the state of Indiana was one of the first to move to make it illegal. With just a few tweaks to the state code, Indiana made all forms of online gambling explicitly illegal. It is a felony to either own and operate an online poker room or play any game at an online casino, too.

The question for Indiana online poker players is: “How would the state enforce these laws?” After all, it is clearly unconstitutional for the state to monitor and log your Internet activity. The state government simply doesn’t have the resources to track online gambling activity statewide, and mostly depends on the letter of the law to keep people from getting too interested in placing bets on the Internet.