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.
If 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
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.