Much of the final debate on the gaming bill revolved around the looming specter of a tribal casino that’s headed for South Bend. The legislation is aimed at helping Indiana’s gaming industry remain competitive.
The gaming bill allows riverboats to move inland, makes a variety of tax changes, and permits racetrack casinos to ask the gaming commission for live dealers beginning in March of 2021. Language added in the final days of session deals with a new tribal casino expected around South Bend. The state can make a compact with the tribe…and the bill says the legislature must have a say in that compact. But South Bend Democratic Representative David Niezgodski worries that language is too aggressive.
“The way it’s written right now, I think it’s very restrictive," says Niezgodski. "It is stronger than it’s been in other places. What we do not want to do, we don’t want to make it difficult to make that compact.”
But Osceola Republican Representative Tim Wesco notes the legislature has always had prerogative over the gaming industry.
“And at least the federal government will see the fact that we, as a legislature, are very interested in this issue and we would like to have more say in that process,” says Wesco.
The House and Senate both approved the bill, sending it to the governor.