Locals Get To Keep Casino Revenue, Under House-Approved Changes
February 25, 2015 — TheStatehouseFile.com
INDIANAPOLIS – A bill that would authorize live dealers for racinos and let riverboats rebuild on land will get a hearing in the Senate – if it passes the House on Wednesday.
Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, said the key debate will be whether the live dealers are an expansion of gambling.
Gov. Mike Pence has already told lawmakers he thinks it is. It’s not clear yet how much that concern will affect the House vote, which could take place Wednesday morning.
House Bill 1540 would allow riverboat casinos to rebuild on land within their existing footprints – essentially the area where their pavilions an hotels are located. It would create new tax breaks for casino investment and extend a break for some marketing programs. And it would allow live dealers at the racinos – which are based at horse tracks – to replace the electronic table games they have now.
The bill also includes assistance for the casino at French Lick, which is expected to be hurt by the changes elsewhere.
Supporters have said the bill is an attempt to help the entire gambling industry. But Long said the bill is like “whack-a-mole” because every time lawmakers do something to help one part of the industry, another part is impacted.