HomePublicationsNewsletter ArchiveNewslettersVolume 21Issue 7Indiana Legislature Advances Gaming Reform Legislation

On Wednesday, February 25, 2015, The Indiana House of Representatives passed House Bill 1540 (“HB 1540”) by a vote of 76-19. The bill, if passed by the Senate and signed into law, would change the state’s gaming laws to allow Indiana casinos to be more competitive with other jurisdictions.

The version of HB 1540 that passed the House had several key amendments since it passed out of committee last week. In the previous version, the bill would have removed the casino admission’s tax, which provides funding to local governments, and required that each casino renegotiate its development agreement with its host community. In addition, the prior version would have required the Majestic Star in Gary, which currently holds two operators licenses, to relinquish one of the licenses if the property decided to move to a land-based facility.

The most recent version of HB 1540 that passed the House on Wednesday retains the admission’s tax, as well as directs the legislative council to study the effects of the admission’s tax and propose potential alternative methods of funding local government. Indiana casino operators have argued that the tax is outdated and difficult to calculate because the casinos are allowed to remain moored to their docks, allowing patrons to flow in and out of the property at will. In addition, the provision related to Majestic Star giving up one of its licenses should it move to land has been removed.

Notably, HB 1540 would also permit live table games at horse tracks. Currently, tracks may only offer slots and electronic gaming machines. This provision, however, may raise issues with Governor Mike Pence, who has been reported to oppose any expansion of gaming activity in the state.

The bill will now move to the Indiana Senate for consideration. For more information on HB 1540, please see Volume 21, Issue 6 of The Michigan Gaming Newsletter, available by clicking here.

 

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