Indiana Passes Casino Bill, Inches Closer to Sports Betting

Indiana has finally moved on towards regulated gaming by making a giant statement of intent: Indiana State Senate’s Public Policy Committee has approved a relocation of riverboat gambling license to a land-based site for a local operator, Spectacle Entertainment.

The Bill 552 – which is to be sent to Indiana State Senate’s Appropriations Committee – was voted for unanimously. It followed the three-hour hearing and a debate. The Appropriations Committee will commence thorough research into how a land-based venue will impact the state’s finances…

…and should it pass there, it will be put to vote before the Indiana State Senate with a Republican majority.

The said site for a land-based casino, where the floating Majestic Star Casino Hotel will move, is located in the city of Terre Haute.

Another One Underway

The passing of the bill by both houses of legislature also resolves the fate of another Spectacle’s riverboat casino, Majestic Star Casino Hotel II.

Namely, they will be able to transfer that casino’s license too, to a brand-new $300 million land-based venue in city of Gary. The proposed 200-room facility with create jobs for 400 local residents and would make around $75 million in annual revenue.

An Important Milestone

State Senator, Ron Alting, believes the lawmakers and officials did the right thing by green-lighting this legislation.

“I believe that Senate Bill 552 is a thoughtful, practical and well-balanced approach to advance Indiana’s gaming industry,” he said in an interview, and added that Bill 552 is “one of the biggest gaming bills in the history of Indiana.”

He explains that it could lead to legalization of sports betting and adjust gaming tax distributions.

However…

…not everyone sees eye-to-eye with him.

Pro et Contra

Fearing for their own casinos as well as tax revenue decline, officials from Hammond and East Chicago counties are ready to oppose the legislation. These communities are hosts to Horseshoe Hammond and Ameristar East Chicago riverboat casinos.

In order to prevent further debate and hear out worried officials’ pleas, the Senate’s Public Policy Committee and State Senator, Mark Messmer, created an amendment that would guarantee Hammond’s and East Chicago’s tax revenues to stay intact.

Mayor of Hammond, Thomas McDermott, was not convinced by this act, and believes that relocation of Spectacle’s casinos will create a jeopardy for Horseshoe and Ameristar one way or another.

He says that casinos will have to start laying people off, should they lose because of Gary and Terre Haute Casinos.

Source:

“Big win for Gary land-based casino proposal in first Indiana Senate committee hearing”, Dan Carden, nwitimes.com, February 7, 2019.

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