House Committee Makes Dramatic Changes To Gaming Bill

Mar 27, 2019

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.