By Terri Austin, Jack Lutz and Tim Lanane
Creating new jobs must be the priority of the 2013 Indiana General Assembly. Hoosiers across this state are counting on us. At a time when the state’s unemployment rate is 8.5 percent, we must thoroughly examine and consider any proposal which could produce jobs. Failure to do so, at a time when so many Hoosiers are unemployed, through no fault of their own, would be a violation of the trust and confidence placed in us as elected officials.
Among the many tools being considered to solve our state’s moribund unemployment problem, one stands out as a simple and inexpensive solution. That tool is contained in SB 528 and is the authority to substitute live table games with in-person dealers in lieu of electronic table games at the state’s two racinos, Hoosier Park in Anderson and Indiana Grand at Shelbyville. This substitution would be of immense value to the unemployed of our legislative districts and surrounding areas.
It is estimated that live table games will result in the creation of approximately 600 net new jobs. These are good paying jobs with an estimated annual salary of $40,000 plus health insurance and other benefits. The new jobs would not cost the state and, to the contrary, would result in increased state tax revenues in the range of $10 million to $20 million per year. Additionally, substantial construction projects would be necessary to accommodate live table games. Temporary construction jobs are estimated to generate additional employment in excess of 350 positions.
Live table games have been authorized for the state’s riverboat casinos since 1993. Electronic table games are nothing new to the racinos. They have had electronic blackjack, poker, craps and roulette since they opened in 2008. Electronic table games are the same as live table games except a machine deals the cards or operates the game instead of a person. Live table games would merely permit a human being to perform the work now being done by a machine. What a refreshing concept in an age when so many jobs have either been sent overseas or eliminated by technology. We are unaware of any public policy that is served by depriving a person of employment so that the same task can be performed by an inanimate object.
Please help us pass live table game legislation, not only to create jobs and revenue, but also to assist the unemployed gain the dignity and pride that comes with a job and a paycheck.
Voice your opinion by calling (800) 382-9841 (House Republicans) or (800) 392-9842 (House Democrats.)
Rep. Terri Austin, D-Anderson; Rep. Jack Lutz, R-Anderson; and Sen. Tim Lanane, D-Anderson, represent Madison County residents in the Indiana General Assembly.