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House Committee Makes Dramatic Changes To Gaming Bill

By Brandon Smith, IPB News | Published on in Entertainment, Government, Politics
The Indiana Statehouse (Lauren Chapman/IPB News)
The Indiana Statehouse (Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

The House Public Policy Committee dramatically altered this session’s major gaming bill Wednesday.

The original bill would allow the owner of a Gary casino, Spectacle Entertainment, to move that facility to a more desirable location in the city, off the waterfront. It also says that owner could move an existing license at the Gary casino to Terre Haute, opening a new casino there. And it legalizes sports wagering.

The changes made Wednesday still let Spectacle move off the water – but it now attaches a $100 million fee to that move. And if Spectacle wants to move a license to Terre Haute, they have to give it up, allowing the Gaming Commission to put the license up for bid.

Rep. Sean Eberhart (R-Shelbyville) thinks that’s too much.

“To me, that’s a tough one to swallow,” Eberhart says. “That’s an extreme amount of money.”

The committee also eliminated the possibility of online, mobile sports wagering. Rep. Ben Smaltz (R-Auburn) explains why that change is important to him.

“I worry about having the tentacles of gaming coming to all of our communities and just becoming a pervasive way of recreating at great expense,” Smaltz says.

The committee unanimously approved the bill. It now goes to the House Ways and Means Committee.