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House panel rejects live table games at racinos

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A panel of Indiana House lawmakers stripped most provisions of a gambling bill Wednesday, setting up a potential showdown with senators who approved a gambling expansion last month.

Indiana's casinos are pressing to bring their riverboat operations on shore and the owner of Indiana's two racetracks with slots wants approval to install table games as new casinos in Illinois, Michigan and Ohio look ready to siphon away business.

But the House Public Policy Committee voted 10-3 to advance a bill that does away with both provisions and restores state aid for counties that host casinos, which the Senate cut in the gambling bill.

Jim Brown, chief operating officer for the Centaur Holdings, which owns both the Shelbyville and Anderson tracks, argued that adding table games would amount to a formality because both tracks already have games like poker and roulette operated by machines.

But Republican Committee Chairman Rep. Bill Davis, R-Portland, said table games never were what the Legislature intended when it approved slots for the racetracks.

"Why did you not install table games when you first put the casino in?" Davis pressed.

The House gambling bill keeps in place a handful of small tax changes sought by the gambling industry, but the largest items were eliminated.

The gambling industry has spent more than $19 million lobbying for gambling expansions and lower taxes with mixed success since 2000. In that time, riverboats won approval to dock permanently, the tracks won approval of 4,000 slots and the owners of the French Lick Resort and Casino won an exception to the state's water-based casino rule in order to build their casino.

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  • Really?
    Is David from Indiana? Does he have the concerns of Indiana in mind? Or other states? Why on earth would one of our representatives vote for people to spend their money and travel to other states? Next election, Portland should give this guy the boot.
  • Stupidity Reigns
    Bill Davis...congrats, you are the most ignorant legislator of the session.
  • Thank you. J. Kasich-(R) Gov OH
    Wheeew. Cincinnati business folks wanna thank ya'. The Governor of Ohio also extends his appreciation.
  • Why Not?
    Why would they vote to not allow table games?!? What's the difference in terms of morals or in the laws eyes as to having digital games vs. REAL ones? I very much enjoy spending a day at a casino, but will only do so to play table games which the racinos don't have. This is certainly a disservice to them and the surrounding communities as the increase in revenue from the increased use and taxes would likely be substantial. How can Indianapolis continue to compete with other cities for convention and visitors if Indiana is stuck in the dark ages? On another note, how did French Lick get away with not having their casino on a river or at a horse track!?? They built a building, put a moat around it, then drained the moat. How does that meet the current laws?

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