Inside INdiana Business

Bill aims to repeal ‘hold harmless’ payments for casinos

Image of proposed casino in Terre Haute called Rocksino. (image courtesy Spectacle Jack LLC)

INDIANAPOLIS (Inside INdiana Business) — A bill introduced by State Representative Alan Morrison (R-Brazil) would repeal the requirement for the owner of the new Terre Haute casino to make one-time payments to other Hoosier cities with gaming facilities. The requirement was put in place in 2019 as part of legislation allowing Spectacle Jack LLC to move one of its gaming licenses to Vigo County.

The requirement calls for Spectacle to make the payments to compensate for potential revenue losses in those communities as a result of the new Terre Haute casino beginning operation. Spectacle’s gaming license was originally held in Gary for one of the two Majestic Star riverboat casinos, however the license was not needed in the city after plans were made to combine the two casinos into one.

Currently, Spectacle is required to make a one-time payment of $1.2 million to the city of Evansville within its first year of operation, followed by one-time payments of $900,000 and $600,000 for the next two years.

Additionally, the company must set aside wagering tax revenue to provide hold harmless funding for casinos in East Chicago, French Lick, Hammond and Michigan City during the first four years of operation.

“Indiana casinos are already taxed heavily, with much of that revenue meant to benefit the communities they’re located in,” Morrison said in a news release. “It’s bad policy to force these gaming establishments to share profits with other cities. Competition in the marketplace is good, and removing these mandatory payments levels the playing field for everyone.”

House Bill 1183 has been referred to the House Ways and Means Committee.