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Gambling expansion of Indiana race tracks in the hands of Governor

A gambling bill to allow the two pari-mutuel horse racing tracks to add slot machines was passed by the Indiana legislature.

Indiana slots expansion in race tracksIf Gov. Mitch Daniels approves the proposal, it would be Indiana's biggest expansion of gambling since the Legislature authorized riverboat casinos in 1993. Daniels has been a firm supporter of net decrease in gambling within the state. And he has been quoted to say that he will sign both bills.

The gambling expansion bill (House Bill 1835) , which passed the House (54-44) and the Senate (33-17), if signed would allow the race tracks in Anderson and Shelbyville to install up to 2,000 slot machines. Requirements include a $250 million in licensing fees and a progressive slot machine tax, starting at 25% on the first $100 million up, 30% on the second $100 million and 35% above that amount. The race tracks are required to invest at least $100 million into building a facility to house the slot machines.

All the proceeds from the fees and taxes will be distributed to property tax relief. According to Sen. Tim Lanane (D-Anderson), "It's more than a gaming bill, it's a way to avert a property tax crisis." About 10 days ago lawmakers learned that the average homeowner's property-tax bill will increase 24 percent this year, and gambling provided the only significant source of immediate cash to deal with the problem.

Another gambling bill (House Bill 1510) was also passed by Indiana's legislature and will be on the desk of Gov. Mitch Daniels. This bill would provide additional enforcement against video gambling machines sometimes found in bars and gas stations. The bill would crack down on the illegal video slots across the state by providing funding for additional 16 officers to focus on curbing the illegal gambling in Indiana. It also contains a provision for an administrative position which will have the power to revoke alcohol, tobacco and retail licenses from businesses that house illegal gambling machines. According to most estimates, there are 10,000 - 20,000 illegal video gambling machines all over the state.


Related news:

 Riverboat casinos may "lose the boats" in Indiana
 The Kentucky Derby shows its thorns



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