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Amendments To Casino Bill Rein In Gaming Expansion

Aztar Riverboat

Photo: Bill Shaw/WTIU News

The Aztar Riverboat is one of several casinos on the Ohio River.

Legislation aimed at helping Indiana’s gaming industry stay competitive underwent drastic changes in a House committee Wednesday, including elimination of some aspects many considered to be an expansion of gaming.

Two of the most controversial portions of the gaming bill allowed live table games at racetrack casinos and permitted the state’s riverboats to move their facilities inland. House Public Policy Committee Chair Bill Davis says removing those aspects quells concerns about expanding gaming in the state.

“There’s also the issue of the competition,” he says. “By allowing table games at the racinos, it would take away from other gaming in the state of Indiana.”

Jim Brown is the president of Centaur, the company that owns the two Indiana racetrack casinos. He says allowing live table games is not expansion of gaming because the racinos already have electronic table games.

“I’m not here today to ask for a handout and I’m not here today to ask for a bailout.  I’m only here today respectfully asking for the ability to create hundreds of new jobs for Hoosiers,” he says.

The legislation still contains many of the tax breaks aimed at helping the state’s gaming facilities better compete against casinos in surrounding states.  The committee passed the bill 10-3.  It will now likely head to the House Ways and Means committee.

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