Two proposals calling for pull-tab machines at Hoosier Park and Indiana Downs received their first hearing Jan. 26, but after three hours of debate in the House Public Policy and Veterans Affairs Committee, one thing was clear: Legislation to authorize the machines could meet an early fate.
A proposal to finance a new stadium for the Indianapolis Colts by utilizing expanded gaming in downtown Indianapolis appears to be dead.
Indiana's horse racing industry may have another opportunity to secure more financial stability. An amendment introduced and passed in the Senate Finance Committee Feb. 19 would increase the annual subsidy to the industry from $27 million to $44 million. It goes to the full Senate for consideration.
Efforts to bring 5,000 electronic pull-tab machines to Hoosier Park, Indiana Downs and two simulcast wagering facilities were defeated Feb. 12 in the Indiana General Assembly.
A bill that would allow electronic pull-tab machines at Indiana racetracks and two satellite wagering facilities crossed a second hurdle Jan. 21. The House Ways and Means committee approved the legislation by a 17-10 vote and sent it along for consideration by the full House.
Three pieces of legislation that would directly impact Indiana's horse racing industry are making their way through the General Assembly.
With the help of three Republicans who crossed the isle June 7, hopes for dockside gaming and pull-tab legislation continue to live as the full House passed House Bill 1001 by a 51-47 margin. The legislation now moves to the full Senate, which has a Republican majority.
Dockside gaming and pull-tab legislation were not passed into law during the Indiana General Assembly's regular session earlier this year, but both measures have made their way into a new budget bill during the special session now under way.
Proponents of "pull-tab" machines for the horse racing industry and dockside gaming for riverboat casinos may have renewed hopes in Indiana. Gov. Frank O'Bannon has said he will call lawmakers back for a special session beginning May 14.
The Indiana House passed legislation Feb. 26 that allows for dockside gaming at riverboat casinos, and pull-tab machines in the state. Lawmakers approved the Senate bill by a 55-43 margin.
Churchill Downs stock rallied Monday, rising $3.22 on heavy trading. What drove the increase can only be speculated, but it came the day before Indiana legislators are to vote on a bill that expands gambling at racetracks and riverboats, and video lottery legislation is to be introduced in Kentucky.
The future of video gaming at racetracks and dockside gaming at riverboat casinos in Indiana could be decided as early as Monday.
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