(Indianapolis, Ind.) - A bill that would change the way Indiana’s casinos are taxed has passed its first hurdle at the statehouse.
The Senate Public Policy Committee voted 9-0 on Wednesday to approve Senate Bill 528, according to The Indianapolis Star. It will be considered next by the full Senate.
The legislation would do away with the $3 per person admissions tax casinos currently pay to the state. That would be made up by the introduction of a 2.5 percent raise on the revenues casinos make from gaming.
It would also allow Indiana’s 10 riverboat casinos to build gaming facilities on land adjacent to their boats. State Rep. Randy Frye has introduced a similar piece of legislation in the House.
The state’s two horsetrack racinos would be permitted to have live table games like black jack and roulette, too. In addition, the bill seeks to remove taxes on free-play coupons that casinos give to some visitors, the Star reported.
Casino lobbyists and some state lawmakers have touted SB 528 as a way to make Indiana’s 13 casinos more competitive with those opening in Ohio and other neighboring states. State projections show a loss of about 15 percent in gaming revenue by 2015.
The proposal may have trouble getting much further, however. The non-partisan Legislative Services Agency revealed their analysis of the bill during the senate committee hearing, showing that the legislation would result in up to $231 million less in gaming revenue for the state over the next two fiscal years.