IBJNews

Senate bill would stop paying gambling counties

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The state would end millions of dollars in annual payments to communities that have casinos under legislation the Senate Appropriations Committee approved Thursday.

But those local governments would still keep millions more from tax payments and local agreements with the gambling operators.

The phased-in change would save the state $24 million in 2015 and another $48 million each year thereafter—all money that’s now being collected from gambling taxes and sent to cities, towns and counties.

The state would then use much of that cash to offer a new tax credit to casinos to encourage them to renovate and rebuild to better deal with competition from casinos in Oho, Illinois and Michigan.

Senate Appropriations Chairman Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, said he wants to have the “local units share in the commitment” to help the casinos thrive.

Senate Bill 528 would reverse a policy the General Assembly approved a decade ago that capped the revenues that local communities collect from wagering and admissions taxes but also guaranteed they’d never receive less than the amounts they collected in 2002.

Kenley said the state made that promise when riverboat tax revenue was at one of its highest levels and lawmakers believed it would continue to grow. But recently, an economic downturn and competition from other states has depressed those revenues, and the state is consistently paying out some of its gambling taxes to local governments to make good on the guarantees.

On Thursday, the Appropriations Committee voted to end the payments as part of a larger bill that aims to help shore up the casino industry and the taxes it pays to the state. Kenley said the payments change is an effort to “rectify something that appears to be getting out of hand.”

“We need to get them in line with whatever the activity [at the casino] is,” he said.

But Sen. Earline Rogers, D-Gary, said she’s concerned because the two Majestic Star casinos in Gary are now in bankruptcy and are unlikely to produce much revenue or take advantage of a tax credit that would help them renovate or rebuild.

“For our city to be losing I guess what would be $5.5 million at this point in time, that trade-off doesn’t work. That balance doesn’t work,” she said. “We might want to look at exempting cases where there’s a bankruptcy situation.”

In some communities, the losses could be mitigated somewhat by other changes the bill makes to the casino tax structure.  Also, the bill would not affect local development agreements through which casinos make direct payments to communities and community organizations.

If passed into law, the bill—with all changes taken into account—would mean $4.4 million less in 2015 and $12.1 million less for the town of Lawrenceburg in Dearborn County where Hollywood Casino is located. But the community would still receive about $45 million in taxes and local payments from the casino.

For Harrison County—the home of Horseshoe Southern Indiana casino—the loss would be about $3.3 million in 2015 and $8.2 million in 2016. But the county would still receive $18.5 million in taxes and other payments.

For Evansville, home of Casino Aztar, the loss would be about $900,000 the first year and $2.5 million in the second. That will leave the community with $6.9 million in annual taxes and payments.

Eight other communities would also be affected by the changes.

The bill—which now moves to the full Senate for consideration—would also:

- Permit the state’s racetrack casinos to offer table games with live dealers. Currently, table games are available only electronically.

- Require Indiana Live in Shelby County to make payments for three years to the casino in French Lick. That’s to make up for business that could be lost when Indiana launches live table games.

- Eliminates the admissions tax paid each time a person goes through the turnstiles and increases the supplemental wagering tax to make up the revenue.

- Creates a tax credit of up to $40 million annually for casinos that invest in their properties.

- Reduces tax rates for the state’s lowest-revenue casinos.

- Permits the owners of the French Lick Resort & Casino to use money from a historic preservation fund for projects. Currently law allows only the use of the interest for projects.

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Initial Decision
    The state legislature made the initial decision to allow gaming and they designated where the casinos would be. Certain areas of the state needed more help economically than did others. So, they put the casinos in some of the most poor areas with the highest unemployment rate. They could have just as easily put the casinos in downtown Indianapolis and would have made a lot more money from tax revenue. The casinos were meant to provide taxes fof the ful state, not just a few select counties.
  • More Billionaire Welfare?
    Boy, it never ends with the Republican super-majority. First, they want to divert tax collections to help out the poor Hulman-George family, whose track isn't making the kind of dollars it used to because open wheel racing isn't as popular and because of NASCAR competition, and now they want to use taxpayer money to help out the "poor" casinos. Refurbishing and enlarging casinos will not bring in more suckers--there is too much competition from other states and the economy has not recovered. However, the Republican mentality is always to take money from the poor and middle class and find a way to divert it to the wealthy.
  • Yeah RIght
    Looks like state want to make sure Marion and Hamilton still receive "their" share of money they put nothing into. If anything, the state should stop sending gambling dollars to non casino counties and let the casino counties keep it.

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Uh, sorry Johnnie, but you are incorrect. Despite the assertions by yourself and various defenders and captains, sports attendance is NOT off significantly at most sporting events in the US. Variances in attendance has been in the range of single digits, both + & - for years now. MLB has had most of its best overall attendance nubers in the last decade, and that trend has been consistent for most major sporting events. The number one issue cited by most fans when asked about attendance is the overall cost of attending. The presence of HD and big screen televisions in home doesn't even register, as a factor for not attending an event. VALUE in the product is the key, and apparently is something lacking in the current ICS. What other explanation is there when with what is routinely touted as the "best" racing on the planet, fans are staying away in DROVES. A "close" title battle into the last event at Fontana, with the "cars and stars" of the ICS, and who showed up? MAYBE 8K. Sorry, but HD TV isn't to blame for that kind of fan apathy.

  2. Do you need finance to establish your business ? Are you interested in getting a loan at 3% from our private company? If so please Email: suntrust_oil@blumail.org

  3. If she was worth the $ the public outcry over direct tv dropping them would have kept them on their dishes as we have seen with other companies. I too quit watching channel 13 after she showed up since I left channel 8 because of her all show rather than production results. When Randy on 8 corrected her she had a big head and incorrectly challenged his correction for pronunciation of a city. Other antics while she matures was too much for me with her very inaccurate forecasts. All the forecasters were predicting rain until Thursday except Chris. They predicted sunny on Thursday but instead of rain until Thursday upon which the sun would finally make it out in full glory Chris was right on the money just as I too predicted looking at the radar on weather.gov. One thing I love about Angela is the fear you can see in her every time it thunders in the winter. It far exceeds the entertainment value of her body language (high heel noise drags, depression, etc) when her forecasts are so incorrect. Her hair stands on end, you have to see it!!!

  4. Good Day, Apply For A Loan I am Mr Fernadez Antonio, a private Loan lender and a cooperate financial for real estate and any kinds of business financing. I also offer Loans to individuals, Firms and cooperate bodies at 3% interest rate We offer any kind of loans. email us via fernadezloaninvest@outlook.com LOAN APPLICATION FORM First name:......................... Middle name:......................... Last name:........................................ Date of birth (yyyy-mm-dd):....................... Gender:........................................... Marital status:................................... Total Amount Needed............................... Loan Duration.................................... Address:.......................................... City:............................................. State/province:................................... Zip/postal code:.................................. Country:.......................................... Phone:............................................ Fax:.............................................. Mobile/cellular:.................................. Monthly Income.................................... Occupation:....................................... Best Regard, Mr Fernadez Antonio.

  5. i will love to share my testimony to you all the people in world i got married to my husband about 2 year ago we start having problems at home like we stop sleeping on the same bed,fighting about little things he always comes home late at night,drinking too much and sleeping with other women out side i have never love any man in my life except him. he is the father of my child and i don't want to loose him because we have worked so hard together to become what we are and have today .few month ago he now decided to live me and the kid,being a single mother can be hard sometimes and so i have nobody to turn to and i was heart broken.i called my mom and explain every thing to her,my mother told me about DR.okoro how he helped her solve the problem between her and my dad i was surprise about it because they have been without each other for three and a half years and it was like a miracle how they came back to each other. i was directed to DR. okoro on his email:okorospell@gmail.com and explain everything to him,so he promise me not to worry that he will cast a spell and make things come back to how we where so much in love again and that it was another female spirit that was controlling my husband he told me that my problem will be solved within two days if i believe i said OK So he cast a spell for me and after two days my love came back asking me to forgive him i Am so happy now. so that why i decided to share my experience with every body that have such problem contact Dr okoro the great spell caster on his email addresses spellcasterforlove@outlook.com

ADVERTISEMENT