Indiana News

Senate committee approves live dealers at racinos

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A committee in the state Senate gave its approval Wednesday for live dealers at table games at the racinos in Anderson and Shelbyville.

The vote was 10-0 for the bill that calls for live dealers at some table games. It would also permit riverboat casinos to move on land.

The live dealers, who would replace video dealers at the two racetrack casinos, are the most controversial element in the bill.

Casino owners argue that they don’t qualify as an expansion of gambling, mostly because gambling revenues have fallen in recent years.

The governor says he is opposed to an expansion.

“Offering live table games at our facilities in a limited format,” said Jim Brown of Centaur Gaming, “allows us to offer a more competitive product and attract customers from surrounding states.”

Peter Liguori of the Majestic Star Casino said that tax breaks in the bill are also important.

“The industry is really stressed,” he said. “It’s under attack. It is losing revenue, losing jobs.”

The committee chairman voiced support for all of the elements in the bill but stressed one of them.

“I strictly feel and hope that we will continue somehow, some way to go with the concept of live dealers,” said Sen. Ron Alting, R-Lafayette.

None of this is a lock, however.

The bill must now be approved by the Appropriations Committee before it can reach the floor of the state senate.