Bill aimed at boosting casinos clears Senate
If passed by House, Switzerland, Jefferson counties will lose money
Tuesday, February 26, 2013 10:00 AM
INDIANAPOLIS - A major overhaul of Indiana casino regulations and taxes has cleared the state Senate amid arguments from its supporters that the casinos need help against growing competition from surrounding states.
Senators voted 32-18 Monday night to approve the bill that would allow Indiana's 10 riverboat casinos to move inland to adjacent property and permit live table games at the two horse track casinos. The bill would also cut state taxes on casinos by millions of dollars.
The Belterra Casino is in Switzerland County, and officials there believe the measure could cost that county $2 million. Jefferson County could lose about $150,000 because counties neighboring counties with casinos receive a share of the pot.
Several senators who represent counties with casinos objected to provisions that would reduce how much casino tax revenue is distributed to local governments. They argue those communities bear extra expenses hosting the casinos.
Workers at Ohio's fourth and last voter-approved casino, in Cincinnati, are gearing up for the $400 million facility's opening in less than one week.
Cincinnati's casino will be the last of four voter-approved casinos to open in the state in less than a year.
Casinos in Cleveland, Toledo and Columbus opened in that order starting in May.
The bill now goes to the House, where several leaders are wary of making major changes in the casino laws.