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Ways And Means Changes Riverboat Taxing As It Passes Casino Bill

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Local communities with casinos could face significant financial losses under changes made Thursday in the House Ways and Means Committee to gaming industry legislation. 

Communities where casinos are located currently get four pots of money because of those facilities: dollars from the admittance tax and the wagering tax, money from the state to supplement previous losses in the admittance tax, and money from what are called local development agreements, or L-D-As – essentially, side contracts with the casinos themselves. 

An amendment the Ways and Means committee approved eliminates the admittance tax after 2016, changes the wagering tax in 2017 to lower the amount casinos pay, and eliminates the state supplement. 

That could mean losses of tens of millions of dollars for local communities.  The amendment would also require each community and casino to renegotiate their LDA in the hopes of helping offset some of the loss to locals.  If locals and casinos can’t agree on a new deal, the Indiana Gaming Commission will establish the agreement for them. 

Rep. Tom Dermody (R-LaPorte), the gaming bill’s author, says the prospect of the commission deciding the terms of the LDA should spur casinos and communities into working together.

“So I think everybody has to come to the table and look at this and say, “Okay, we’re no longer in the position we were in before.  We want to keep this industry; we want to keep those jobs.  What all do we have to do together to make that work,’” Dermody says.

The amended bill now heads to the House floor.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.
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