HARRISON COUNTY, Ind. (WDRB) – Indiana's riverboat casinos will now be allowed to build new facilities on land.
"I think it goes to the issue of sustainability," said Indiana State Representative Ed Clere.
Clere said he opposed the legislation in its initial stages, but was unable to vote on the final bill.
The bill, which Governor Mike Pence said he would allow to become a law on Friday, allows for casinos to move inland on pieces of land that are already owned by the casino. However, some legislators like Clere say it's not enough to stem the tide of competition from neighboring states.
“I want them to be here and to be successful and provide the revenues we've come to depend at both state and local communities,” Clere said.
The bill also allows for horse track casinos which are currently in Anderson and Shelbyville to use live dealers for table games.
Proponents on the recent legislation say moving casinos inland could help combat the expanded competition.
But others are worried about the continued pressure and the possibility of much more, especially for Horseshoe.
“We're facing increased competition from states all around us with the exception of Kentucky,” Clere said. “And I think we have to consider the chance that Kentucky could have casino gambling in the not too distant future.”
Clere says if that happens, casinos like Horseshoe may have a problem, whether it moves inland or not.
“It's not Horseshoe's fault, its not Harrison County's fault,” Clere said.
Earlier versions of the legislation would have allowed the horse track casinos in Anderson and Shelbyville to add live dealers for table games such as blackjack, but that provision was dropped after legislative leaders said Pence objected. The new law will allow those casinos to seek permission for live dealers in 2021.