Hoosier Park Could Get Electronic Gaming Devices

A comprehensive overhaul of Indiana's gaming laws, including a provision to allow electronic pull-tab machines at Churchill Downs-owned Hoosier Park, was approved Wednesday by a House committee.

The proposed legislation passed on an 11-3 vote by the House Public Policy Committee is designed to alter state laws allowing dockside gambling for the state's riverboat industry.

According to the Louisville Courier-Journal and Indianapolis Star-News, the bill was approved with about 600 people on both sides of the gaming issue in attendance. The legislation now will be aired during a Monday hearing before the House Ways and Means Committee.

In addition to no longer require riverboats to conduct two-hour cruises in order for gambling to take place, the legislation legalizes pull-tab gambling at Hoosier Park. The amendment affecting Hoosier Park also allows an off-track betting facility in the French Lick-West Baden area, which would also receive the state's 11th riverboat casino license. The OTB parlor at French Lick would also be allowed to sell pull-tabs.

According to the Courier-Journal, Hoosier Park lobbyist Bob Spolyar said revenue from the pull-tabs would eventually replace the present subsidy the racing industry receives from a riverboat admission tax.