01/24/2013 11:03AM

Indiana bill that would allow tracks to add table games advances


A bill that would allow table games at racetrack casinos in Indiana and grant tax breaks to the state’s other casinos was approved unanimously by a state senate committee on Wednesday.

The bill was approved 9-0 by the Senate Public Policy Committee on the same day that a fiscal analysis of the bill was released showing that Indiana could lose up to $231 million in tax receipts over two years if the bill is enacted. Most of the decline would be due to a provision in the bill rescinding a tax on complimentary play provided to casino customers, the analysis by the Legislative Services Agency said.

Casino interests have lobbied aggressively for the bill, saying that it would allow them to better compete with casinos in neighboring states. Taxes on Indiana’s 11 casinos currently provide for approximately 5 percent of the state budget.

In addition to the allowance for table games at Indiana’s two tracks – both Hoosier Park and Indiana Downs are owned by Centaur Gaming – the bill would allow the state’s other casino operators to build new facilities on dry land. The current law requires that casinos be sited on water, even though all of the state’s casinos are moored. The bill was sent to the Senate Appropriations Committee.