Casinos Request Tax Relief From State Legislators

Indiana may lose millions of dollars in gambling revenue as neighboring state casinos spring up.

casino aztar riverboat

Photo: Lori SR (Flickr)

Casinos in Indiana like the Casino Aztar Gambling Riverboat, Evansville, have lost some of their revenue from competing casinos in adjacent states.

Tens of millions of dollars may be at stake for Indiana when Cincinnati opens its first casino this spring. The Horseshoe Cincinnati will be the last of four casinos to open in Ohio after a 2009 referendum, and the closest to Indiana‘s borders.

Casinos have opened this year in Columbus, Cleveland and Toledo.

Some Indiana casinos are going on offense. The Rising Star Casino in Rising Sun plans to open a new hotel, while Lawrenceburg is adding a convention center.

But Casino Association of Indiana president Mike Smith says the casinos will be asking legislators for tax relief to make similar investments easier. The association wants to make wagering taxes deductible on casinos‘ income taxes.

And casinos have long sought reversal of a ruling that “free play” promotions are subject to wagering taxes. State budget analysts expect casino tax revenue to drop $25 million this fiscal year — that‘s with Cincinnati online only for the last few months of the year.

Smith says the competition could cost the state four times that. Three Ohio casinos opened in 2012 along with one in Hartford, Michigan. Illinois has given the green light for five new casinos.

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