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Gaming Bill Amendments Stripped As House Advocates Summer Study

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Controversial changes to Indiana’s gaming tax made in a House committee were taken out of a bill on the House floor Tuesday.

An amendment in the Ways and Means committee to gaming legislation last week eliminated the state’s admissions tax, changed the wagering tax and forced communities with casinos to renegotiate local agreements with those gaming facilities. 

Those changes could have cost local communities tens of millions of dollars. 

Ways and Means Chair Tim Brown (R-Crawfordsville), who crafted the original amendment, then offered an amendment on the House floor to remove his tax changes from the bill.  But he notes issues such as the admissions tax won’t simply go away.

“I think it’s an outdate measurement of how we need to look at traffic and attendance patterns at these casinos as they move forward, so we’ll study it,” Brown says.

Rep. Sean Eberhart (R-Shelbyville), whose district includes one of the state's two racinos, then offered an amendment to live dealers for those facilities back into the bill.  He says live dealers have been part of the bill from the beginning.

“For us to remove a major, major component of the bill in a second reading amendment I believe is making a decision that just doesn’t need to be made at this point,” Eberhart says.

Under Brown’s amendment, all the tax changes will be sent to a summer study committee for further scrutiny.  The gaming bill is up for passage by the House Wednesday. 

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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