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Long Says No To Casino Bills

Last updated on Thursday, May 28, 2009

(STATEHOUSE) - Senate President Pro Tem David Long is slamming the door on any casino bills in next month’s special session.

Long blames gambling lobbyists for derailing the budget bill in the regular session.

He says he'll deny a hearing to any bill other than the budget in the special session, and won't allow gambling measures in the budget itself.

Gary legislators want to move one of the city's two riverboats downtown, while the horse racing tracks in Anderson and Shelby County want to add table games to the slot machines the state authorized two years ago.

Legislators and lobbyists have been dangling either that expansion or a new casino in Union Station in Indianapolis as a way to raise money for Indy's cash-strapped Capital Improvement Board.

Long says legislators will consider a CIB fix if Governor Daniels includes one in his budget as expected, but says using gambling money for it is off the table.

Long is the first legislative leader to flatly rule out gambling as part of a CIB bailout.

House Ways and Means Chairman William Crawford had floated the Union Station idea, and Governor Daniels and Mayor Greg Ballard, while dubious, had declined to take gambling off the table entirely.

Long's calling for a summer study committee to look at any casino issues, including the possibility of one in his hometown of Fort Wayne.

Mayor Tom Henry has proposed a nonbinding referendum on the idea.

Lobbyists have been urging the general assembly to pass a bill to authorize a casino if such a referendum passed.

Long says Henry can hold a nonbinding vote without legislative approval, but says he opposes a casino, he says gambling is "not right" for the city.

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