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Casinos Vs. Racinos

“Racinos”, as they are being called, are one way the state of Indiana is attempting to increase casino revenue. But Republican lawmakers are putting the brakes on developments that would enable horse race fans to try their luck at the tables between bets on the raceway.

In 2008, a time of economic downturn in our beloved Hoosier state, Indiana opened two racinos in an effort to create revenue and strengthen Indiana’s racing industry. The Shelbyville and Anderson racinos originated with simple slot machines, but have begun incorporating electronic roulette, blackjack, and craps games in response to customer demand.

The lines are very fine when comparing racinos with Indiana’s well-established casinos. The primary distinction is that racinos are not allowed to have live tables in accordance with 2008 legislation prohibits. Some legislators feel that, by allowing manned tables in addition to the machines, these horse track racinos would create an unnecessary competition between the raceway and the casinos.

Senator Phil Boots, who fashioned the new bill, feels that the proposed changes would be good for Indiana’s struggling economy, creating 600 new jobs for Hoosiers living near these two inland cities. The racino owners agree, noting that instead of increasing the number of patrons, opening live tables would only cause those who are already using the electronic versions to simply shift their gambling to a table.

Allowing the table games might be enough to kill this bill, according to House Speaker Brian Bosma, who fears that Governor Pence may have nothing to do with the changes. As we know, Indiana’s casino laws prohibit casino developers from building anywhere but along state borders or on steamboats.

But gambling legislation must evolve as the gambling industry grows and changes. If this bill fails to enable the inland racinos to include live tables, legislators may refocus on changing the outlying casino laws. Boots declined to comment on any further changes he plans to pursue in the future.


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