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Senate Committee Unanimously Approves New Gaming Bill

The bill adds mobile gaming devices to off-track betting sites, eliminates taxes on free-play coupons and allows live-dealer games in racetrack casinos.

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.

Legislation aimed at helping Indiana gaming facilities compete with other states and bolster struggling attendance cleared its first legislative hurdle Wednesday.

Legislation unanimously approved by the Senate Public Policy committee adds mobile gaming devices to off-track betting sites and eliminates taxes on free-play coupons.

It also allows live-dealer games in racetrack casinos, something the bill’s author, Crawfordsville Republican Senator Phil Boots, says will boost job creation.

“Contrary to popular policy today is we try to replace everything with a robot,” Boots says.  “We’re actually taking a robot and replacing it with a live person which should increase our employment at the racinos somewhere around 650 people is what I’ve been told.”

Indianapolis Republican Senator Jim Merritt says he’s wary of the mobile gaming devices, iPad-like tablets that can run anything from slots to table games.

“I don’t want to get to a point where we just have casinos everywhere in the state of Indiana and I see us creeping toward that.”

Merritt says he is hopeful the devices will be taken out of the bill, which now heads to the Senate Appropriations committee.

Brandon Smith

Brandon Smith 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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