HomePublicationsNewsletter ArchiveVolume 25Issue 11INDIANA PASSES GAMING EXPANSION LEGISLATION

Indiana has passed gambling expansion litigation on April 24, 2019.  Prior to passage, the legislation had previously been filed as Senate Bill 552, and was recently moved to House Bill 1015.  The gaming expansion is expected to bring around $75 million into the state, and the bill switch from the Senate to the House was necessary as all revenue-generating bills must come through the House.

The legislation would allow two Gary casinos to combine and move inland and give Terre Haute a license to build a new casino––increasing Indiana’s current count of 11 casinos and two racinos.  Any casino in Terre Haute is subject to the results of a local referendum.  The bill also significantly decreased the relocation fee for the Gary casinos from $50 million to $20 million.  It additionally would legalize sports betting, which passed through both chambers with little to no debate from lawmakers or the public.

One significant change made to the bill includes removing the provision to prevent casino owners from meeting in private with the governor.  A recent Indianapolis Star story detailed that Governor Eric Holcomb accepted a paid-for private plane ride last year with the owner of Spectacle Entertainment, the company operating the two Gary casinos.  As a result, language that previously allowed casino owners to meet in private with the governor was stricken from the bill on the House floor by Rep. Pat Bauer, D-South Bend.

In addition, amendments to the bill included adding mobile sports betting on computers or phones back into the bill.  Sports wagering would not be authorized on e-sports or youth sports and the previous tax rate of 9.5% remained unchanged.  It also accelerated the timetable for the two racinos to utilize live dealers from 2021 to 2020. 

Sen. Mark Messmer, R-Jasper, who introduced the new language of the bill in conference committee, predicted that the current version will be the final version. “I think we’re 99 percent there,” Messmer said.  Messmer was proven correct as both the House and the Senate voted April 24, 2019 to pass the legislation with no additional changes.

The Conference Committee Report with the full details can be found here.


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