Rising Star Casino in Rising Sun.
(Indianapolis, Ind.) – Staring at a projected 15 percent loss of casino tax revenue in coming years, Indiana lawmakers are taking a serious look at new measures to make Hoosier gaming facilities more competitive with their counterparts across state lines.
State Senator Phil Boots (R-Crawfordsville) has introduced a bill that would make major money changes at Indiana’s 13 casinos, the Associated Press reports.
Senate Bill 528 would do away with the some of the taxes casinos pay to the state: the admissions tax thatcasinos are required to pay relative to their attendance and taxes on wagers made with credits granted to gambles by the casinos. The elimination would be reinforced by additional taxes on revenues.
Indiana’s two horse track “racinos” in Anderson and Shelbyville are currently only allowed to have electronic gambling machines. SB 528 would also allow the “racinos” to expand by allowing live table games.
The proposal has been referred to the Senate Committee on Public Policy.
Rep. Randy Frye (R-Greensburg) has filed a bill in the House of Representatives that would allow for riverboat casinos to open land-based facilities. Those inland casinos would have to be Adjacent to the current dock site of each riverboat. That bill, HB 1326, has been referred to the House Committee on Public Policy.
Some legislators are, however, not jumping at the proposals which appear to be gaming expansions.
Expanded gaming in Ohio, Michigan and Illinois are drawing gamblers away from Indiana’s casinos. State projections show a 15 percent decline in tax revenues by the 2015 budget year. That would be a decline from $614 million last year to $520 million in three years for one of the state’s largest revenue sources.
Just last year, southeast Indiana’s three riverboats – Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg, Rising Star Casino in Rising Sun, and Belterra Casino Resort in Florence – saw their combined revenues fall 6.4 percent from 2011 levels. Attendance was down further, falling 10 percent from 2011.