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House Leader Says He’s Done Pushing for Land-Based Casinos

February 23, 2010

Supporters of land-based casinos were handed a major setback today after the House of Representatives withdrew a gambling bill, and an amendment to allow riverboats to re-locate on land. Tuesday’s action seemed initially to support allowing riverboats to relocate on land. An amendment offered by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Crawford did just that. But the amendment was voted down, and shortly afterward, Crawford withdrew the bill altogether. Casinos located at horse tracks lobbied hard against that change, saying it would threaten their profits. Crawford says that’s what stood in the way.

“Racinos got what they wanted and to hell with everybody else!”

That “everybody else” Crawford is referring to, included a riverboat casino in Gary that would have been allowed to relocate closer to interstates, and, more business. Gary representative, Charlie Brown, says it was an attempt to help people in the struggling area, while improving Indiana’s edge when competing with casinos in nearby Illinois and Michigan.

“Since they denied Gary, then I have no interest in the bill whatsoever.”

Crawford says he won’t try again this year to let riverboats re-locate on land. But a gambling bill, without that change, is still alive. That means significant gambling changes in Indiana are still possible through session’s end.

-Marianne Holland

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