Indiana legislators have endorsed a deal allowing the tribal casino in South Bend to become a full-fledged competitor to Indiana’s other casinos.
The Indiana House voted Monday for final legislative approval of the agreement signed in January by Gov. Eric Holcomb and the Dowagiac, Michigan-based Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians.
It will allow the tribe’s Four Winds South Bend Casino to offer live table games such as blackjack and roulette, slot machines and sports betting. The casino has been limited under federal law to only electronic games since it opened in 2018 without such an agreement with state
The 20-year agreement prevents state officials from allowing new casino competition across most of northern and northwestern Indiana, including no future moves by the existing casinos in Hammond, East Chicago, Gary and Michigan City.
In exchange, the tribe will pay 8% of its slot machine winnings to the state and continue its 2% payments to the city of South Bend. That total, however, will remain be far below the 25% tax rate paid last year on total winnings by Indiana’s 13 state-licensed casinos.
The tribe, which counts nearly 6,000 members, has a similar agreement with Michigan for its casinos in New Buffalo, Hartford and Dowagiac.