« Ind. Decisions - "Lie on insurance application voids coverage" | Main | Ind. Law - More bar exam changes »

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Ind. Gov't. - Indiana gambling revenue on a losing streak

Two interesting stories by Maureen Hayden of CNHI newspapers.

Today, in the Logansport Pharos-Tribune, a long story on the challenge posed by Ohio. Some quotes:

Ohio’s decision to get into the lucrative world of gaming is posing a serious threat to Indiana’s share of casino dollars and prompting a statehouse debate about how to respond.

As Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati officially opened, it is the fourth big-city casino launched in the Buckeye state in 10 months – and the closest one to the Indiana border.

In location and amenities, it’s designed to be enticing: Just a short hop off the interstates that run through the city, the upscale casino is fronted by a crystal-chandeliered, glass-walled entryway that offers a sweeping view of the city’s downtown. * * *

“Indiana is a gaming state,” said Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane, whose district includes the Hoosier Park racetrack casino in Anderson. “That’s just the case.”

But fortunes are changing.

There are now 23 states with a cut of the action, and more than 1,200 commercial casinos competing for gaming dollars. More than half the states with legalized casinos have gotten into the game since 2008.

Indiana saw the problems coming. Three years ago, state fiscal analysts predicted the arrival of casinos in Ohio, coupled with casino expansion in Illinois and Michigan, would cut deeply into the competition for gambling dollars and the hefty tax revenue stream that helps fund essential public services in Indiana.

Now they’re witnessing their fears: In the short months they’ve been open, the casinos in Toledo, Columbus, and Cleveland have earned more than $404 million and generated $133 million in taxes. With Cincinnati, the total casino revenues in Ohio are predicted to hit almost $1 billion a year.

Meanwhile, Indiana is on a losing streak. Admissions and revenue are down over the last three years. * * *

Indiana legislators are trying to come to grips with the grim news. A bill that passed the state Senate last week would grant tax breaks to the state’s 10 riverboat casinos and allow them to relocate nearby to dry land. And it would give Indiana’s racetrack-casinos the ability to operate table games like craps, roulette, and blackjack.

But the complicated legislation, described by [Ed Feigenbaum, Indiana Gaming Insight] as a “Rube Goldberg device,” faces an uncertain future in the House.

March 3, in the Lebanon Reporter, a story that begins:
INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana lawmakers have been debating whether to give the state’s casinos more financial incentives to compete with the shiny new gambling palaces popping up in Ohio.

They’re fearful that fickle gamblers will take their dollars — and the millions in tax revenues they generate every year—across the border to one of the four big-city casinos that have opened in the Buckeye State in the last 10 months.

What should worry them more: How easy it is for you to sit at home in your underwear, using your laptop or mobile device to place your bets online.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 6, 2013 08:54 AM
Posted to Indiana Government