As lawmakers negotiate the final details of gaming legislation, the future of live dealers at racetrack casinos remains one of the most controversial provisions. Racino advocates made a final public plea Wednesday.
When the gaming bill left the House, it allowed racinos to replace some electronic games with tables that have live dealers. The Senate altered that arrangement, instead allowing racinos to add live dealers beginning in 2021.
Local communities with casinos could face significant financial losses under changes made Thursday in the House Ways and Means Committee to gaming industry legislation.
Communities where casinos are located currently get four pots of money because of those facilities: dollars from the admittance tax and the wagering tax, money from the state to supplement previous losses in the admittance tax, and money from what are called local development agreements, or LDAs -- essentially, side contracts with the casinos themselves.
A bill designed to help Indiana casinos struggling from declining revenues is moving forward despite the objections of some in the gaming community. A House committee approved the measure Thursday, the first step towards passage.
Indiana’s gaming revenues have been in steady decline for some time, worsened in recent years by increased competition in neighboring states.
Proposed legislation would allow racetrack casinos to add a limited number of table games with live dealers, while the state’s riverboats would be permitted to move inland on their existing footprint.