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(INDIANAPOLIS) – A bill to move Gary’s two casinos has cleared another hurdle at the statehouse, but it’s added a hefty price tag.


A House committee voted unanimously to allow the new owners of Gary’s Majestic Star Casino to move downtown — for a $100 million fee. And a proposed move of Spectacle Gaming’s second license to Terre Haute would allow rival casinos to bid for it.


Public Policy Chairman Ben Smaltz (R-Auburn) says when the state first authorized casinos, those licenses were tethered to specific locations. He says it’s appropriate to revisit the conditions of those licenses if they’re going to move to more lucrative locations.


The committee also deleted a proposal to allow the two racetrack casinos to add live table games starting this year. The Anderson and Shelbyville facilities currently have to wait till 2021, a delay insisted upon by then-Governor Mike Pence.


The bill still legalizes sports betting, but would no longer allow you to place your bets via smartphone — you’d have to go to a casino. Smaltz argues if the state allows smartphone betting on sports, there’s no rational basis for restricting betting on anything else, and gambling would soon be legal in all 92 counties.


The House Ways and Means Committee will review the bill next before it goes to the full House. The final version isn’t expected to be hammered out until the final days of the legislative session next month.

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