HomePublicationsNewsletter ArchiveNewslettersVolume 21Issue 6Indiana Legislature Advances Gaming Reform Legislation

On Thursday, February 19, 2015, the Indiana House Committee on Ways and Means voted 20-3 to approve House Bill 1540 (“HB 1540”), legislation aimed at reforming the state’s gaming laws, for a floor vote. The bill includes amendments that make changes to the state casino admission’s tax and licensing process from its original version, introduced on January 20, 2015.

The amended legislation would repeal the state admission’s tax. The tax is based upon the number of visitors to the property with the funding provided to local units of government. Indiana casino operators have expressed support for removing the tax, as well as for replacing the local funding through other means, due to the difficulty in tracking patrons as they enter and exit the riverboat. While the tax was easier to account for when the boats were required to cruise when offering gambling games, past policy changes allowing the riverboats to remain moored at their docks and allowing patrons to enter and exit multiple times in a single day have made calculating the tax difficult for operators. HB 1540 does not contain a replacement for the state admission’s tax, but it does require each operator to renegotiate local development agreements.

The bill has also been amended to require Majestic Star, which currently operates two riverboats near Gary, Indiana, to relinquish one of the company’s gaming licenses if it decides to relocate to a land-based location. While the original text of HB 1540 included the opportunity for existing licensees to move from riverboat to land-based facilities, it did not limit Majestic Star to a single land-based option for its two existing licenses.

The bill is scheduled for its second reading on the House floor for Monday, February 23, 2015.

For more information on HB 1540, please see Volume 21, Issue 5 of The Michigan Gaming Newsletter, available by clicking here.

 

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