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Senate Suggests Live Racino Dealers -- In 2021

Brian Indrelunas

Indiana‘s two racetrack casinos could hire live dealers to operate table games under a Senate proposal -- but not for six years.

A Senate committee is expected to vote Monday on an attempt to finesse Gov. Pence‘s reported opposition to live dealers at the racinos. By freezing the status quo until 2021, the proposal would let Pence stick to a vow to oppose any expansion of gambling as long as he‘s governor.

House Public Policy Chairman Tom Dermody (R-LaPorte) is noncommittal, though he predicts there will be more changes to the bill.

House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) says he‘s not opposed to the six-year delay, but calls it "odd."

Dermody‘s more enthusiastic about a couple of other provisions in the Senate proposal.

Appropriations Chairman Luke Kenley‘s (R-Noblesville) amendment would make permanent a tax exemption for promotional free-play vouchers at casinos. And it requires the legislature to ratify any deal with the Potawatomi Indians‘ Pokagon Band for a tribal-run casino in northern Indiana.

State officials can‘t block a Native American casino once the Interior Department approves it, but are required to negotiate an agreement on how the facility would operate.

Dermody says the state needs to give itself as much say as it can.

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