The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update


January 29, 2014

Editorial: Casino discussion needs to continue

Tax revenues from Indiana casinos have been falling.

Since June, there has been a $50 million drop — make that a plunge — compared to a year earlier. That’s $5 million more than the state anticipated. In 2009, the state garnered about $876 million in casino taxes and $752 million in 2013.

It’s a safe bet to say that the recession has played a role in the revenue drop. Casino revenues are down in other parts of America. It’s also safe to say that the opening of casinos in Ohio has hit Indiana hard. The three Indiana casinos near Cincinnati saw huge declines since a downtown casino opened in the Ohio city.

Indiana casinos — including Hoosier Park Racing & Casino — have asked state leaders for a break to protect against out-of-state competition. But like many Hoosiers, legislators say the casinos have to survive on their own.

Indiana casinos are strapped.

The dialogue about Indiana’s gaming industry needs to be revived. Whether Hoosiers see value in gambling or not, there are too many jobs and tax-funded projects for the discussion to lay dormant. The condition of Indiana casinos needs to be a major discussion going forward, whether it’s allowing live dealers at gaming tables to spark consumer interest or providing casinos with tax breaks.

Maybe casinos will get to the point where they make or break on their own.

But Hoosiers can’t afford at this stage to let casino jobs and tax revenues slip away without having a thoughtful, all-encompassing debate on how casinos can thrive.

In summary With tax revenues dropping from Indiana casinos, a discussion needs to be revived on how to help the job-creating facilities.

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