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Indian Casino Could Be Indiana Casinos’ Next Competitor

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January 20, 2015 — Eric Berman, Network Indiana — The next headache for Indiana‘s casino industry could come from within Indiana.

The Pokagon Band of the Potawatomi Indians applied to the Department of the Interior three years ago to build a casino near South Bend. Indiana Gaming Commissioner Ernest Yelton says an environmental study is expected to be complete in another year. Once it is, he says, the state is required to negotiate “in good faith” the terms of operation.

Normal wagering taxes don‘t apply. The state is allowed only to reach a deal to recoup expenses. Yelton says the limits on what a Pokagon-owned casino would owe the state would give it a big edge in what it can spend on marketing. And while Yelton says the Pokagon Band has indicated it wants a full-fledged casino, federal law allows it to open a facility limited to electronic bingo machines with no state input at all.

Yelton notes there could be more out-of-state competition as well, with the November election defeat of Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, who had opposed proposals for a Chicago casino. Yelton says it‘s unclear where new Governor Bruce Rauner stands on the issue.

[Photo of Ojibwa casino in Michigan, courtesy of casino website]

 

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