Legislation aimed at helping Indiana gaming facilities compete with other states and bolster struggling attendance cleared its first legislative hurdle Wednesday.
Legislation unanimously approved by the Senate Public Policy committee adds mobile gaming devices to off-track betting sites and eliminates taxes on free-play coupons. It also allows live-dealer games in racetrack casinos, something the bill’s author, Crawfordsville Republican Senator Phil Boots, says will boost job creation.
“Contrary to popular policy today is we try to replace everything with a robot,” Boots said. “We’re actually taking a robot and replacing it with a live person which should increase our employment at the racinos somewhere around 650 people is what I’ve been told.”
Indianapolis Republican Senator Jim Merritt says he’s wary of the mobile gaming devices, iPad-like tablets that can run anything from slots to table games.
“I don’t want to get to a point where we just have casinos everywhere in the state of Indiana and I see us creeping toward that,” Merritt said.
Merritt says he’s hopeful the devices will be taken out of the bill, which now heads to the Senate Appropriations committee.