(AP) — Gov. Mike Pence is asking lawmakers to reject an expansion of
gambling amid pressure from new casinos in bordering states.
reporters Tuesday that he has concerns about the industry's effort to
bring the state's riverboat casinos on land, add live table games at the
two horse racing tracks and approve portable gambling devices.
issue, we are making it known to legislators, that while I have no
objection to finding ways that we can permit these Indiana businesses to
be more competitive financially. I do not support an expansion of gaming
in Indiana," Pence said.
Republican governor did, however, leave the door open on other
priorities sought by the gambling industry, including changes to the
state's casino admission tax.
of the new measures sought by Indiana's casino industry say they're
necessary to keep pace with new competition from states including Ohio
and Illinois. They also say the proposals don't constitute an expansion
recent threat to Indiana's casinos comes from the opening of the $400
million Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati, across the river from southeast
Indiana and some of the riverboat casinos stationed there.
previously has said he supports keeping Indiana's gambling options at
the status quo. This is the first time he has said he's actively asking
lawmakers to vote against any expansion.
Boots, R-Crawfordsville, said he didn't believe the provisions would
expand gambling since those table games are already at the horse track
casinos in Anderson and Shelbyville.
expanding the number of games there, we're not expanding the number of
machines. It will be the same," Boots said.
maintains that allowing the casinos on the Ohio River and Lake Michigan
to build to adjacent on-line property doesn't expand gambling either.
moving to another location where you would attract a different
clientele," Boots said.
he believed the tax changes being proposed were the most important
issues in the bill as the Indiana casino owners consider how to respond
to growing competition from neighboring states.
where they're going to invest their money and we're trying to create a
business-friendly environment in the state of Indiana just like we do
with any other economic development incentive package," Boots said.
policy committee chairman Bill Davis, R-Portland, said he was working
with other legislators on changes to the bill and expected his committee
to take it up next week.
he wasn't surprised that Pence would have problems with the current
don't see how you couldn't view them as expansions," Davis said.
opponents praised the governor's support Tuesday.
pleased to have a governor oppose the expansion of gambling in Indiana,"
said Dan Gangler, spokesman for the Indiana Conference of the United
Methodist Church, which opposes the gambling bill. "I am encouraged by
fewer gamblers visiting casinos. Maybe people are wising up to casinos