Passed Gaming Bill Leaves Out Live Table Games

The bill provides tax breaks and credits to the state’s riverboats and racetrack casinos.

Casino Aztar

Photo: Robert Batina (flickr)

Casino Aztar is a riverboat casino in Evansville. The bill does not allow casinos to move on land as some supporters of the original bill wanted.

Lawmakers early Saturday morning approved legislation aimed at helping the state’s gaming facilities face compete against other states.

The gaming bill provides tax breaks and credits to the state’s riverboats and racetrack casinos, hoping to stem significant and growing revenue losses. Notably, it does not tax $5 million of free play for each casino.

Casinos currently send out coupons for up to, for instance, $100 of free play at their facilities, but are then taxed on that as if the customers had spent their own money.

But what the bill does not do is permit racetrack casinos to transition from electronic to live table games or allow riverboats to move their facilities entirely on land.

Those are two provisions the bill’s author, Sen. Phil Boots (R-Crawfordsville), pushed hard for. Still, he says the measure will help.

“So it still will be difficult for some of the boats to compete but it provides some tool and it’s in incremental step towards helping them out,” Boots says.

The bill now heads to the governor’s desk for his signature.

Brandon Smith, IPBS

Brandon Smith, IPBS has previously worked as a reporter and anchor for KBIA Radio in Columbia, MO, and at WSPY Radio in Plano, IL as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

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