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Riverboat casinos may "lose the boats" in Indiana

The lawmakers in Indiana discussed yesterday a possible bill which would allow the riverboat casinos to convert to docked platforms.

Riverboat casino in IndianaThe so-called "barges" would be built on permanent platforms on the water, which would make any future expansion process much easier for the casinos. The bill also suggests an increased fees and taxes, even for the casinos which would not convert to the permanent docking. The talks are in conjunction with the proposed House Bill 1835 which would allow the 11 state casinos to expand further and the two horse race tracks to add slot machines.

It is interesting to note, that the current riverboat casinos on Lake Michigan and the Ohio River have not been required for years to cruse during "gambling sessions", but must maintain the engines of the boats in working condition at all times.

The legislature is discussing also the taxes that would be imposed on the casinos, which would come as a trade-off for the right to expand their buildings further, and the right to dock the casinos. The current Indiana gambling revenue tax is a progressive one, starting at 15% and going up to 35% for revenues exceeding $150 million. The tax suggested by the sponsor of HB 1835, Rep. Trent Van Haaften (D-Mount Vernon), would go a step higher to 40% for the casino revenue over $200 million. Another fee would be added by the 1835 bill - $25 million to convert to "barge" + $500 per square foot, if the casinos would like to expand their floors.

Many are worried, however, that if slots are allowed in the horse-racing tracks, they would basically turn into land-based casinos, and so would the former Indian riverboat casinos, once they don't have to have an engine and are conveniently and permanently docked.


Related news:

 The Hilton Casino in Atlantic City plans $1billion expansion
 California approves state casino gambling expansion bill




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