INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A key state legislator doesn't expect the General
Assembly to make many changes to Indiana's casino laws during its upcoming
Lawmakers had lengthy debates in this year's session over bills aimed at
boosting Indiana's casinos as they face greater competition from
neighboring states, but they turned down most of those proposals.
New House Public Policy Committee Chairman Tom Dermody, R-LaPorte, said
Thursday he's working to learn about the casino issues and expects debate
on any major changes to wait until the 2015 session.
House Speaker Brian Bosma named Dermody the committee chairman last month
following the resignation of Rep. Bill Davis of Portland, who became Gov.
Mike Pence's director of community and rural affairs.
Gambling issues expected to be on hold include considering again whether
to allow live table games such as blackjack and roulette at the two horse
track casinos near Indianapolis, where only electronic versions of those
games are now allowed, The Herald Bulletin reported.
"I think that discussion will be for future sessions after this next one,"
Bosma and Davis largely opposed many of the casino proposals as an
unwarranted expansion of gambling.
Dermody said he expected to talk with Pence about casino issues but
believed the governor's opposition to gambling expansion included
additional table games.
Mike Smith, president of the Casino Association of Indiana, said he
expected few gambling bills would be considered during the legislative
session that begins in early January, partly because the General Assembly
will only be meeting until mid-March.
Dermody's district is near the Blue Chip casino in Michigan City, which
Smith said he believed made Dermody more receptive to the casino
"I think from an industry standpoint he's a very open individual and it's
going to be good to have someone of his character in that position," Smith
This year's debate over reducing taxes on the 13 Indiana casinos and
allowing the live table games at the horse track casinos came as the state
anticipates a 15 percent drop in casino tax collections during the coming
years. State officials blame the decline in part on the opening of new
casinos in Ohio, Michigan and Illinois taking business away from the
Smith said 2015 might be the right time for a broad look at Indiana's
"We are facing some troubling times right now," he said. "For the future
of the industry, we need to look at the whole tax model."