03/20/2007 11:00PM

Indiana slots bill amended


A committee in the Indiana Senate passed a bill on Tuesday authorizing slots at the state's two racetracks provided the tracks each pay a $400 million up-front licensing fee.

The bill, which had passed in a different form in the full state House, was amended in several ways by the Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee before passing 9-3. In addition to the increase in the license fee from $100 million to $400 million per track, the committee also cut the number of machines allowed at each track from 2,500 to 1,500.

The bill passed on Tuesday has been sent to the full Senate, but as of Wednesday the legislation had not been scheduled for debate. The legislature is expected to be in session until April 11.

The $400 million license fee is the largest a state has ever asked racetracks to pay. In Pennsylvania, where slot machines at racetracks and some stand-alone sites were legalized in 2004, racetracks were required to pay a $50 million licensing fee in order to operate slot machines.

Rick Moore, the general manager of Hoosier Park, said that the track's lobbyists are hoping to have discussions with legislators about a final version of the bill.