The Indiana Senate has approved the Bill 552, which will legalise sports betting, allow for a Gary casino license to move across the state, remove a cap on the number of in-state casinos a company can own and move up the date when horse racing casinos, or racinos, can use live dealers for table games. Bill author Sen. Mark Messmer, R-Jasper, called it a “once-in-a-generation opportunity.”
Supporters of the bill, which passed in the Senate by a 38–11 vote, have been reluctant to frame the measure as an expansion of gaming, an idea some lawmakers have refrained from embracing.
That could be a challenge as the bill moves to the House, where Speaker Brian Bosma called the legislation a “major expansion,” perhaps the largest since horse racing casinos were allowed to implement slot machines in 2007.
“It’s difficult to find a place where a large expansion like that can pass. I’m surprised it had passed the Senate,” Bosma said. “If there’s a new casino facility, I don’t know how anyone can argue that it’s not an expansion.”
The portion of the bill that’s received the most scrutiny so far is the provision allowing one of the two Gary casino licenses to move to Terre Haute to make room for economic development in Gary’s Buffington Harbour. Currently, those two licenses are owned by the same company and are used to operate two riverboat casinos sitting side by side.