Proposed gaming legislation raises concerns for Speaker Brian Bosma

Feb 26, 2013

House Speaker Brian Bosma said he has reservations about legislation headed to his chamber that he calls a significant expansion of gaming.

Senate-approved legislation includes tax breaks for casinos, adding live table games to racetrack casinos and allowing riverboats to move their gaming facilities completely on land.  The bill aims to steel the state’s wagering facilities against pressure from gaming in all surrounding states.  Speaker Brian Bosma said he understands that the state already essentially ignores the requirement that casinos be on water, but he has concerns about what he calls, in his words, “dropping the façade.”

“Because then I don’t think you can say no to anyone and you could have a casino here in downtown Indianapolis, you can have it in all of our urban areas and there’s no real means of saying, ‘Gee, that’s not our current public policy,’” said Bosma.

Lafayette Republican Senator Ron Alting, one of the bill’s sponsors, said the legislation only allows riverboats to move onto land adjacent to the water.

“That whole footprint already is legalized gaming.  So there’s no special permits, there’s no additional permits.  The entire footprint is legal to operate gaming on,” said Alting.

Alting said he believes Bosma will ultimately support the bill despite the Speaker’s personal feelings.