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'Once-In-A-Generation' Gaming Bill Clears Senate

Senator Mark Messmer sits at a table in a statehouse committee room

Sen. Mark Messmer (R-Jasper) calls his gaming bill a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" for the state's casinos. (Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

One of the most significant gaming bills since the industry’s beginnings in Indiana easily passed out of the state Senate Tuesday.

The gaming bill allows a Gary casino to move to a more desirable location in the city, away from Lake Michigan. It would also open the door to a new casino in Terre Haute, allow all casinos to give out more “free play” vouchers and let racetrack casinos install live dealers for their table games this year.

Bill author Sen. Mark Messmer (R-Jasper) says it’s a gamechanger.

“A once-in-a-generation opportunity to reset the casino industry in Indiana,” Messmer says.

The measure also legalizes sports wagering, including online – though with some limits, says Sen. Jon Ford (R-Terre Haute).

“High school sports, amateur sports [involving those under age 18], and competitive video games cannot be wagered on,” Ford says.

The bill passed 38-11. Some senators balked at the potential negative impact on casinos in their communities.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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