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Legislators Meet To Reconcile Versions Of Casino Bill

Sen. Tim Lanane speaks at a press conference at the Hoosier Park race track.

Legislators meet Monday morning to try to find common ground on a casino bill. But a proposal to allow live table games at Indiana‘s two racetrack casinos faces long odds.

Supporters argue Hoosier Park in Anderson and Indiana Grand in Shelby County already have electronic table games, so live dealers would add jobs without representing an expansion of gambling. The Senate went along, but House Public Policy Chairman Bill Davis (R-Portland) stripped the table-game provision and one to allow riverboat casinos to move inland.

Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) named Davis as House Republicans‘ negotiator on the bill, and says the effort to help casinos fend off out-of-state competitors should concentrate on proposals to revise casino taxes. Both chambers have passed differing versions of a bill changing an admissions tax to a surtax on revenue, and exempting some “free play” promotional vouchers from taxes.

But Bosma says table games or land-based casinos would represent a “massive expansion” of gambling, and predicts neither provision will reach the floor.

Supporters could try to put the table-game language in another bill. But Bosma notes Governor Mike Pence has also expressed opposition. The speaker says he believes the governor‘s stance is firm enough to produce a veto.

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