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House Approves Gaming Bill, But Senate Uncertainty Awaits

Lisa Brewster

Legislation aimed at helping Indiana’s struggling gaming industry easily cleared the House Wednesday.  But its path to final approval may be more difficult.

The gaming bill would allow riverboats to move on land, give casinos a ten percent tax credit for new construction, and allow racetrack casinos to replace some of their electronic table games with table games that have live dealers. 

The bill’s outcome became less certain this week when Governor Mike Pence objected to the live dealers as an unwanted expansion of gaming. 

Rep. Tom Dermody (R-LaPorte), the bill’s author, says adding live dealers is a common sense move.

“And keeping in mind, with many of your concerns and with the leadership in our state, that we do not have expansion,” Dermody says.

With the bill now heading to the Senate, GOP leader David Long (R-Fort Wayne) says live dealers is clearly the bill’s biggest issue.  And he says the difficulty is that any change to the measure creates ripple effects throughout the industry.

“It’s Whack-a-mole," Long says.  "You hit one thing and try to solve that problem, another one pops up.”

The House approved the bill 75-18. 

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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