INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
A top Indiana budget writer doesn’t expect much of a state tax revenue boost
if legislators approve proposals to legalize sports betting and allow new
casinos in Gary and Terre Haute.
Sports betting is
projected to bring in $12 million a year, with the new casinos and table
games at horse track casinos near Indianapolis possibly adding about $30
million more, said Republican House Ways and Means Committee co-chairman
Todd Huston of Fishers. That amounts to about one-third of 1% of expected
state tax collections.
Ways and Means
Committee members endorsed the gambling proposal in a 17-6 vote Tuesday,
sending it to the full House for consideration.
estimates come as tax revenue from sports betting has fallen far short of
projections in four of the six states that legalized wagering after the
Supreme Court cleared the way last year.
The Indiana revenue
could be even less than projected because the current proposal would allow
sports betting only at casino sites. A previous plan approved by the state
Senate also permitted sports bets by mobile devices, but the House Public
Policy committee stripped out that provision last month after committee
Chairman Ben Smaltz of Auburn said he worried it was a significant expansion
of gambling and could lead to traditional casino games moving online.
Despite the low
revenue projections, Huston added changes to the tax rates paid by Indiana’s
current 13 casinos that he said could cut their tax bills by about $20
million a year.
“At the end of the
day we want to be competitive with our neighboring states,” Huston said. “We
want to see investments in Indiana, not in other states.”
The plan going to
the full House allows the owner of the current Gary casino boats on Lake
Michigan to build a new casino in the city, along Interstate 80-94, after
paying a one-time $50 million state fee. The Gary casino shift comes as
Spectacle Entertainment, which is buying the two Majestic Star Casino boats
in Gary, proposed a $300 million project building a new casino and 200-room
hotel along Interstate 80-94 and shifting the second boat’s casino license
to Terre Haute.
But the current
proposal would allow any casino operator to make bids for the Terre Haute
license if Vigo County voters agree to a casino in a referendum.
Entertainment is led by former executives of Centaur Gaming, which sold
Indiana’s two horse track casinos in Anderson and Shelbyville to Las
Vegas-based Caesars Entertainment Corp. last year for $1.7 billion.
Gary officials say
the casino move would also allow development of a cargo hub, with a Lake
Michigan port and nearby railroads and highways to attract shipping business
now going through Chicago.
The bill would
allow sports betting to begin in September, although Huston said that might
be pushed back so state agencies have more time to put regulations in place.
Other provisions wouldn’t allow table games with live dealers at the horse
track casinos until 2021, rather than later this year as in the
would need to bid at least $25 million for the Terre Haute license, with
three finalists being selected by a local committee from submitted project
“I don’t presume to
know what the license value is,” Huston said. “I’d like to see it be done in
a competitive marketplace.”