House Speaker Bosma wary of casino bill’s provisions
By Matt Mikus firstname.lastname@example.org February 26, 2013 4:20PM
House Minority Leader Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, turns away from the speakers podium after Democrats adjourned for the day without allowing Republicans to speak on a resolution which would ban gay marriages at the Statehouse in Indianapolis, Monday, March 1, 2004. (AP Photo/Tom Strattman)
Updated: March 28, 2013 6:33AM
INDIANAPOLIS — House Speaker Brian Bosma said Tuesday he has concerns with the casino bill, calling it a likely “expansion of gaming.”
Bosma also held a review of the first part of the legislative session, noting that the main pieces of legislation passed the House with a more peaceable atmosphere than in the past.
The bill passed the Senate Monday with a 32-18 vote.
It would relieve up to $235 million in state taxes from casinos and reorganize taxing structures by replacing the $3 per-person admission tax with a 2.5 percent supplemental wagering tax.
It also allows racino to have table games, and casino boats to move on land.
Senators on both sides of the aisle insisted on Monday the bill needs to move through, since it’s the option the General Assembly has to help casinos compete with gaming in adjacent states.
Bosma said he isn’t familiar with the details now in the casino bill, but believes it will likely be changed before it comes before a House vote.
He said he would look closely at the issue, but doesn’t trust the argument of casinos being threatened, saying a call to protect the industry has been used for other gaming interests.
“I understand there’s some expansion of gaming provided in it,” he said.
“That’s not been our general consensus in the House, at least on the Republican side. We understand we have to keep the industry competitive, with so much competition from surrounding states, but I don’t foresee a massive expansion of gaming this session.”
He worried about provisions in the bill that allow table games at racinos and casinos to move onto land.
“If you said you could have a land-based casino anywhere, I think you change the game significantly. I wouldn’t favor that type of expansion. Then I think you couldn’t say no to anyone,” Bosma said. “You could have a casino in downtown Indianapolis or other urban areas.”
The bill will head to the Public Policy Committee, chaired by Rep. Bill Davis, R-Portland.
First period over
Bosma compared the legislative session to a hockey game with three periods. He said the first period consisting of introducing new bills was successful.
“We’ve completed the first portion,” Bosma said, “and I’m very pleased with the results.”