A new chairman in the Indiana House Public Policy committee is giving gaming industry officials hope for more success in the legislature.
Indiana’s gaming industry has been hit hard in the last few years, both by the recession and increased competition from neighboring states.
A significant push last session for broader gaming options, including moving riverboats on land and allowing live dealers for table games in racetrack casinos, was stonewalled in the House, in part because of the objections of former Public Policy Committee Chair Bill Davis.
Davis’ retirement last month led to Rep. Tom Dermody, R-LaPorte, taking his place as committee chairman. Dermody says he’s excited to have fresh eyes look at the state’s gaming industry as a whole.
“We have to make sure that we’re including everybody at the table, all the stakeholders, so we can all sit around, have difficult discussions about how we allow gaming to continue in Indiana and be as competitive as possible because one thing I think for sure, just doing nothing we’re not going to stay at the same level we are now,” Dermody said.
Casino Association of Indiana President Mike Smith notes that Dermody comes from a district with a casino.
“He’s a very open individual and willing to discuss these things and I think it’s going to be good for the industry to have someone of his character in that position,” Smith said.
Both Smith and Dermody agree, however, that there likely will not be major gaming legislation this session and are predicting a significant push in 2015.