INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana state government could see a big drop in casino
tax revenue over the next two years because of competition from new casinos
in Ohio, state officials say.
The latest state revenue forecast released this month projects the state’s
annual casino tax revenue to decline by about $42 million, or 9 percent, for
the second year of the new two-year state budget that legislators will
decide during their session that starts next month.
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, said he
didn’t believe Indiana’s casino revenue would ever return to the levels seen
when there was little competition from neighboring states. He said state
lawmakers should support measures that ensure Indiana’s casinos remain as
competitive as possible, The Times of Munster reported Wednesday.
"You’ve created an industry you’ve said, ‘We’re willing to have,’ and you
have to be viable,” Kenley told the newspaper. “So now I think it’s a
question of whether we’re going to make changes that allow them to continue
to be viable or whether we’re going to let the industry just die.”
Indiana had tax revenue of $496.5 million from its 13 casinos during the
2012 budget year. As recently as 2008, when Illinois was the only adjacent
state with casinos, Indiana’s casino revenue totaled nearly $583 million.
The new state forecast projects that casino revenue will drop to about $464
million during the current 2013 budget year, which ends June 30. Casino tax
revenue is expected to fall to $432 million in 2014, and $423 million in
A proposed tribal casino in South Bend is under review by federal officials.
Ohio opened land-based casinos this year in Cleveland, Columbus and Toledo.
The final Ohio casino is scheduled to open this spring in Cincinnati, which
is expected to have the greatest impact on Indiana by draining gamblers and
revenue from three nearby Indiana casinos along the Ohio River.
Michigan, Illinois and Kentucky also are threatening Indiana’s casino
Several tribal casinos have opened in southwestern Michigan in the past few
years, including Four Winds — just minutes away from Blue Chip Casino in
Michigan City. Illinois lawmakers are considering whether to allow casinos
in downtown Chicago and its southern suburbs that could draw away business
from the Indiana casinos in Hammond, Gary and East Chicago. And in Kentucky,
Gov. Steve Beshear is pushing to lift a constitutional ban on casino
gambling in his state.