(Indianapolis, Ind.) - State lawmakers turned down at the end of the 2013 lawmaking session Friday a number of proposals aimed at helping Indiana casinos.
Senate Bill 528 aimed to make the state’s 13 casinos more competitive with growing out of state competition. It would have allowed horsetrack racinos in Shelbyville and Anderson to have live table games. Riverboats could have expanded their gaming facilities onto nearby land.
The bill was amended to exclude those measures on Friday, the session’s final day, as House Republicans called them an expansion of gambling.
"I'm not prepared to engage in a massive expansion of gaming just to keep revenues up," House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) said last week. "I don't want to see us get any deeper."
SB 528 did pass with some tax breaks for casinos, including tax deductions for up to $5 million a year in free gambling vouchers which casinos give out to lure visitors. Only about a fifth of the tax breaks the bill contained when it was first introduced survived.
Earlier in the session, the Senate version of the bill threatened to reduce – by millions of dollars – casino admission tax contributions from the state to casino cities and counties. That measure was later amended out by a House committee.
Last year, casino gaming produce about five percent, or $632 million, of the Indiana’s tax revenue. That number is likely to drop in 2013 as out-of-state competition ramps up.
Cincinnati’s Horsehoe Casino opened in March. Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg and Rising Star Casino in Rising Sun – the two closest riverboats to the Queen City – saw their revenues fall by about 25 percent in that first month of Horseshoe’s opening.