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Gaming Legislation Moves Closer To Senate Vote

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Erica Minton
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https://www.flickr.com/photos/rrrrred/

A Senate committee passed a bill Wednesday aimed at reviving Indiana’s declining casino industry. The bill includes accommodations for the various needs of the state’s 13 casinos.  But, not all are satisfied with the proposed fixes.

The bill’s author says the proposed legislation would offer a series of tools to incentivize casinos to compete. That includes letting riverboats build on land, extending promotional deals and allowing the state’s racinos to use live dealers.  But Rising Star Casino CEO Dan Lee says these tools mean nothing if live dealers take away their share of the central Indiana market.

“And at this point we are a break-even proposition," Lee said. "We are kind of hanging on by our fingernails and our forecast is if this bill is passed as written, we will turn unprofitable.”

Lee says if Rising Star Casino were given a similar tax break as the bill provides for French Lick Resort, it would offset the competitive impact. The bill currently requires the racetracks in Anderson and Shelbyville to pay French Lick $2.5 million per year. 

Sen. Jim Arnold of La Porte says moving forward, lawmakers may offer similar solutions for Rising Star, but as of now the bill doesn’t address it.

“Everybody is going to have to walk away with something and say, well I shared little bit in the pain, but I also gained something by it,” Arnold said.

The bill now heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee before heading to the floor.

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