Bill could allow live dealers at Indiana casinos

(AP Photo/Mike Groll)

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – Indiana’s legal gambling tax revenue has decreased about $200 million over the last several years, but a proposed bill from Republican State Rep. Tom Dermody aims to increase revenue.

One change includes allowing live dealers at casinos. However, Republican State Rep. Tim Brown said there are several obstacles to overcome before the bill could become law.

“It will go through the committee discussion because that has some tax implications,” said Brown. “Then the bill will be referred or recommitted after it goes through public policy, and then we’ll deal with it the tax issues. So right now, I’m hesitant to say how it comes through public policy.”

The bill seeks to create new jobs while helping Indiana casinos to compete with legal gambling businesses in surrounding states.

“With the competition around the country and certainly in neighboring states of Indiana, we need to boost whatever we can in trying to help the casino owners,” said Democratic State Rep. Sheila Klinker.

The legislation would authorize table games and remove the statute limiting the number of slot machines allowed at racinos. Klinker said the bill could make Indiana casinos more attractive to consumers.

“We just have to find ways to, I think, make it easier for people to come and more interesting,” said Klinker. “I think live dealers as well as land based casinos are part of that question.”

The bill also seeks to repeal language requiring cities and counties to approve ordinances for riverboat gaming, but Brown said there’s still some question as to whether the bill would help Indiana’s casinos thrive.

“I think that’s in the eye of the beholder whether live dealers would help our state or not, and so that’s the discussion we’ll have,” said Brown.

The bill’s first reading was Jan. 13, and lawmakers will decide if they think the changes will benefit Indiana casinos later in the 2015 legislative session.

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