Local Senator Advances New Casino Realignment

Indiana (NNDC):

State Senator Mark Messmer commented that Indiana is hopefully on it’s way to approving sports wagering and a new casino.

The Senate voted 38-11 to allow Majestic Star Casino to move one of its two Gary licenses to downtown Gary, and the other to Terre Haute.

The bill would also legalize sports betting at all casinos, and allow live dealers at the racetrack casinos in Anderson and Shelbyville, two years ahead of the anticipated schedule.

Majority Leader Mark Messmer said it is a once in a generation opportunity to reboot the casino industry in the state without adding licenses or gaming positions. Gary Senator Eddie Melton says it would be an economic boon for troubled city. He commented that building the new downtown casino just off I-80/94 would be a 300-million-dollar investment, bringing about 400 jobs. Gary leaders see an even bigger prize as clearing the two casinos off the lakefront, opening up Buffington Harbor to be developed into a major shipping hub.

If Majestic Star doesn’t operate the Terre Haute casino itself, the bill would put the license up for bid by other casino operators.

House Speaker Brian Bosma remarked that the bill still faces an uncertain future in the House stating that, new licenses or not, every component of the bill represents an expansion of gambling, which historically has been a red line for legislators and that he was surprised it passed the Senate predicting that there will be opposition from legislators who don’t like gambling, others who want the bill to go farther, and still others who fear existing casinos in their districts will lose business.

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