Indiana Casinos have begun lobbying for the state to aid them financially. This comes in the wake of 10 years of declining revenue within the state, and now the 13 casinos in Indiana are facing a very bleak future. Despite the fact that the casinos provide employment for thousands of people, there are those within the state government that are less than enthusiastic about having to bail the struggling casinos out of trouble. Instead, officials are trying to find ways to make the casinos more self-sufficient.
Indiana Casinos pushing a Bill
As it stands right now, the Indiana Casinos are currently pushing Bill AB1350 through the governing body. The bill seeks to appease both the casinos within the state of Indiana, as well as the state government’s need for taxes. Luke Kenley, the Senate Appropriations Chairman, has come out and made a statement saying that “We’re in essence partners with this industry whether we like it or not. We want to keep them healthy, but we want them to pay a lot of taxes to the state of Indiana.” He has also said that it is imperative for the state and the casinos to find a way to work together and coexist.
Declining Revenue at Indiana casinos
The main issue facing Indiana casinos is the fact that revenues have been on a steady decline over the last decade. Since 2007, the number of people visiting the casinos has fallen by a staggering 40%, to 16.7 million people. As a result, all forms of revenue have fallen as well, including taxes received by Indiana.
Wind the clocks back to 2007 and the state had a bit of a monopoly on the casino industry. It also had several casinos located near state borders and many people would travel from outside the state to gamble. However, this is no longer the case, and many neighbouring states offer gambling options as well.
Changes to save the Casinos
The bill that is currently being looked at proposes that the $3 per person admissions tax that the state’s riverboats currently have to pay gets dropped. The replacement would see a supplemental tax capped at 3.5% of the casino’s gross receipts. This option has largely gone down well with all parties involved.
However, the other proposal has to do with the Hold Harmless Fund, and this is proving to be more difficult. The Hold Harmless Fund gives money to communities that are located near the casinos. Currently, around $48 million is given out by the casinos, and it has been proposed that this amount be lowered. However, it has been opposed, and we’re not sure if the state or the casinos will win the battle over the hold harmless funds.