The House Public Policy Committee dramatically altered this session’s major gaming bill Wednesday.
The original bill would allow the owner of a Gary casino, Spectacle Entertainment, to move that facility to a more desirable location in the city, off the waterfront. It also says that owner could move an existing license at the Gary casino to Terre Haute, opening a new casino there. And it legalizes sports wagering.
The changes made Wednesday still let Spectacle move off the water – but it now attaches a $100 million fee to that move. And if Spectacle wants to move a license to Terre Haute, they have to give it up, allowing the Gaming Commission to put the license up for bid.
Rep. Sean Eberhart (R-Shelbyville) thinks that’s too much.
“To me, that’s a tough one to swallow," Eberhart says. "That’s an extreme amount of money.”
The committee also eliminated the possibility of online, mobile sports wagering. Rep. Ben Smaltz (R-Auburn) explains why that change is important to him.
“I worry about having the tentacles of gaming coming to all of our communities and just becoming a pervasive way of recreating at great expense,” Smaltz says.
The committee unanimously approved the bill. It now goes to the House Ways and Means Committee.