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Dry Land Casinos Gaining Support

Last updated on Wednesday, February 27, 2013

(STATEHOUSE) - Indiana casinos’ plea to move to dry land has cleared the Senate, but passage in the House is not a sure thing.

With the exception of French Lick's historic hotels, Indiana's casinos are required to be on riverboats, permanently anchored on Lake Michigan and the Ohio River.

Supporters of letting them move inland argue there'd be just as much gambling in Indiana as there is now.

But House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) says the move represents an expansion of gambling, and notes that's typically been a line legislators refuse to cross. He says eliminating the riverboat requirement would kick down the door to allowing casinos anywhere in the state.

Bosma says many Republicans have similar misgivings about allowing racetrack casinos in Anderson and Shelby County to become full-fledged casinos. The racinos currently are limited to slot machines.

The casinos have argued the ban on table games is a meaningless distinction, since the machines include electronic versions of games like poker and blackjack already.

Bosma says he expects the House Public Policy Committee will give the bill a hearing. The proposal includes tax changes casinos want in addition to changing what games you can play where.

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