INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Indiana casinos are a loser in the 2014 General Assembly.
The casinos want state lawmakers to help them compete with new casinos in Illinois and Ohio but there will be no significant changes in state gambling laws this year.
That’s the message that came out of state Senate committee Wednesday where no vote was taken on a bill sought by the casino industry.
The bill would permit riverboat casinos to offer gambling in the pavilions and corridors that lead to riverboats, in effect making them land-based casinos.
The bill also called for live dealers for table games at casinos in Anderson and Shelbyville.
Representatives of the casino industry argue that much of their business comes from out of state and with new land based casinos in surrounding states, they say, it’s impossible to keep up.
“From a customer standpoint.” said Steve Jimenez of Grand Victoria Casino, “you can’t compete with land-based facilities.”
“Our revenue has been down by about $360, $370 million,” said Mike Smith of the Indiana Casino Association, “which is a pretty significant decline.”
That’s the amount of tax revenue since 2009 that no longer goes to state government.
That’s something lawmakers must consider, the effect of lost business not just on casinos, but also on the state budget.
Those casinos didn’t expect much from lawmakers this year.
However, they will be back next year with the same requests and a more serious attitude.