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(INDIANAPOLIS) — Indiana’s pledging not to add any casinos in 16 northern Indiana counties, as

part of a deal with the Native American-run casino in South Bend.

The Pokagon Band’s Four Winds Casino is adding table games. It doesn’t need state approval to

do that, but federal law calls for it to pursue a compact with the state to agree on terms for the


Gaming Commission executive director Sara Tait says the deal gives Indiana an 8% cut

of the casino’s income, and South Bend a 2% slice. In exchange, the state promises a 50-mile buffer zone with no new competing casinos.

The existing casinos in Hammond and Michigan City can still expand on their existing property,

but would be barred from relocating inland, as Gary’s casino is. The legislature has already

authorized the Gary move, so it would be unaffected by the compact.

Tait estimates the deal would bring Indiana $12 million a year, but says about half of that is

expected to be offset by decreased business at other casinos. The deal also calls for Indiana to

set aside $1 million of its share in a job training fund for Pokagon Band members.

The state could still authorize a new northern Indiana casino or a Hammond or Michigan City

expansion, but that would void the revenue-sharing agreement and restart negotiations. Tait notes

without an agreement, the tribe can turn to the federal government for approval, which would give

the state the same amount it currently gets from Four Winds’ slot machine operation: nothing.

And Tait says the money is only part of the benefit to the state. The Pokagon Band would also

agree to follow other state gambling regulations, such as banning chronic gamblers and not

serving free drinks.

The Senate has already voted to ratify the agreement. The House could vote this week.