The Washington Times-Herald

State News

March 12, 2013

Gov. Pence opposes provisions to expand gaming

Bill would allow live table games at Hoosier Park

INDIANAPOLIS —  Indiana Gov. Mike Pence isn’t saying the word “veto,” but he’s making clear he opposes key provisions in a Senate gaming bill that would allow riverboat casinos to move inland and add live table games to the slot-machine rooms at the state’s two horse-racing tracks.

During a press briefing with Statehouse print reporters Tuesday, Pence said he’s “making it known” to legislators that he wants no expansion of gaming in Indiana.

The Republican governor, who also said he’s never bought a lottery ticket, has said previously that he favors the “status quo” of legalized gambling in Indiana, despite rising competition for gaming dollars in neighboring states.

But Tuesday was the first time he said he was asking legislators to oppose specific provisions in the gaming bill that he views as significantly expanding gambling.

The provisions, pushed by the gaming industry and approved by the GOP-controlled Senate, would let existing riverboat casinos move their gaming operations onto land and would let the state’s horse-track racinos in Anderson and Shelbyville become full-fledged casinos by adding live table games.

“Let me just say, we’re making it known to legislators (that) while I have no objection to finding ways we can permit these Indiana businesses to be more competitive financially, I do not support expansion of gaming in Indiana.”

The bill is aimed at the state’s ailing casino industry, which has been losing gaming dollars to neighboring states; in turn, Indiana’s gaming tax revenues are also on the decline.  

Total patronage at the state’s 11 casinos have fallen under 2 million for the past five consecutive months — the longest such streak in a decade. Meanwhile, the four new casinos that have opened in Ohio in the last 10 months are expected to see total casino revenues rise to almost $1 billion a year.

Backers of the bill, including Republican Senate President David Long of Fort Wayne and Democrat Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane of Anderson, have argued that the legislation doesn’t expand gaming significantly but instead gives the industry more flexibility to compete for elusive gaming dollars.

Along with gaming lobbyists, they’ve argued the riverboats would be the same casinos as before and that live table games at racinos would be replacing electronic poker and blackjack games that already exist.

But Pence doesn’t see it that way. Nor does Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma, who’s described the Senate-approved bill that’s now in the House, as a “pretty significant expansion of gambling in the state.”

Bosma has also said he “doubts the Senate bill will move forward as it’s currently constituted.”

Pence brought up his opposition to the gaming bill with reporters, after he was asked a question about the Hoosier Lottery’s new advertising campaign. The private firm that runs the lottery for the state has revamped the marketing message, focusing on what lottery players dream of doing with a big payout, without mentioning the long odds against winning.  

Pence said he hadn’t seen news stories about the new marketing message, which some lawmakers have described as exploitive and potentially harmful because it encourages gambling.

“I’ve never bought a lottery ticket,” Pence said, before adding, “I don’t gamble on anything except politics.”

Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com.

 

1
Text Only
State News
  • Our view: Throw open the doors

    As allegations and scandals continue to explode about hidden wait lists and cooked books at VA medical care facilities across the country, with hints of even more heinous findings to come, we have to wonder why it's business as usual in our nation's

    May 29, 2014

  • nws-gb011714 Land Zeppelin 2 (front page pic) Inventor hopes Bike Zeppelin takes off GREENSBURG - A local civil engineer has created a Zeppelin-shaped apparatus that allows bicyclists to ride in the rain without getting wet. Greensburg resident Jim Gorman remembers the day that inspiration struck: Nov. 22, 2011. It rained all day, an

    January 17, 2014 3 Photos

  • Legislator pushes for public disclosure of former meth homes INDIANAPOLIS – State Rep. Wendy McNamara knew methamphetamine was a scourge on her district in southwestern Indiana, but the damaging effects of the drug really hit her when she met a real estate appraiser who’d suffered lung damage after visiting a

    December 14, 2013

  • Bird statue to be unveiled in Terre Haute Serving double duty as a baseball infielder for the American League's Toronto Blue Jays and basketball guard for Brigham Young University, 20-year-old Danny Ainge found time in March 1979 to drive from Provo, Utah, to Salt Lake City to catch an in-pe

    November 5, 2013

  • news school bill.jpg Pence announces school safety grants

    Flanked by fourth-grade members of the Ambassadors Club and student council at Cedar Elementary School here, Gov. Mike Pence announced more than $9 million in grants for schools statewide to enhance their security.

    November 1, 2013 1 Photo

  • Coats returns home to listen to Hoosiers INDIANAPOLIS -- Republican U.S. Sen. Dan Coats returned home to Indiana this week, hoping to turn the political conversation away from a failed GOP strategy that partially shut down the federal government and toward what he sees as more critical issu

    October 24, 2013

  • Congressman standing firm on government shutdown

    Todd Rokita of Indiana’s Fourth Congressional District has been an outspoken opponent of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — a k a Obamacare — since it was signed into law in 2010.

    On Tuesday, the first day the federal government partially shut down in 17 years, the Republican congressman wasn’t backing down.

    October 1, 2013

  • Laws that carry automatic loss of driver's license under review INDIANAPOLIS -- The legislative study committee that proposed the massive rewrite of Indiana's felony code will soon take on another tough issue: The automatic penalty that causes thousands of Hoosiers to lose their driving privileges for committing

    September 19, 2013

  • Gingerich_AP PHOTO.jpg Prison sentence of 12-year-old prompts new juvenile sentencing law

    Three years ago, when 12-year-old Paul Henry Gingerich became the youngest person in Indiana ever sent to prison as an adult, his story gained international attention and sparked questions about whether children belong behind bars with grown-up offenders.

    June 14, 2013 2 Photos

  • Supt_Ritz 1 .jpg Ritz orders independent analysis of ISTEP results

    Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz has hired an outside expert to determine the validity of ISTEP+ test scores of nearly 80,000 students who were kicked offline while taking the high-stakes standardized test.

    June 10, 2013 1 Photo