Legislators back expanded gambling at tribe’s Indiana casino

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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.

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4 thoughts on “Legislators back expanded gambling at tribe’s Indiana casino

  1. If Indiana is serious about maintaining gambling as an attraction for people from Michigan and Illinois, stunting growth in NWI for 20 years is a bad move.

    I’m not sure what the breakdown of tax revenue from gaming is – other than some goes to education – but it seems to me that the biggest portion of tax revenue from NWI casinos should go right back into NWI. There is a lot of potential in NWI; it has beaches and a national park, it’s adjacent to Chicago, and it’s a couple hours from Indianapolis and Detroit. The State should be putting as much money into revitalizing the area as possible.

    1. Tangentially, if we want to compete for jobs and talent with Michigan and Illinois near Lake Michigan, we should hurry up and legalize marijuana. Casinos are okay for day-trip tourism and not much else.

    2. 25% of the tax collected on casinos is controlled by the locals and 75% to the State. Unlike other states, casino taxes are not specifically dedicated to education.

  2. Andrew Cuomo did a deal like this with a tribe in Western NY. It later blew up in his face as the tribe stopped paying but others were still banned from entering the areas with casinos. It got so bad that the tribe prevented the state from repaving damaged sections of Interstate 90; the New York State Thruway.