Indiana Governor Signs New Casino Tax Bill

by Jim Hall

Eric Holcomb - Indiana GovernorGovernor Eric Holcomb of Indiana has signed a new casino tax bill, something that casino operators of the state are in agreement with.

The Governor of Indiana, Eric Holcomb, recently signed a casino tax bill into law that casino operators have praised. It is not often that casino operators are in agreement with government officials, especially when it comes to casino gaming taxes. However, operators of Indiana feel the most recent changes will result in operation costs as well as helping the venues to be more competitive in the future.

The governor signed House Bill 1350 into law on the 2nd of May which will phase out the add-back tax over an eight year time frame and switch the state to an admissions tax to help supplement the wagering tax of the state. The wagering tax is based on a gross gaming revenues percentage.

Blue Chip Casino and Spa spokesman David Strow commented on the new measure stating that their parent company, Boyd Gaming, is in strong support of the measure and see the signing of the bill into law as a positive step for the gaming industry of the state. According to Strow, the changes will allow the industry to gain stability from a tax standpoint and will encourage more reinvestment in the state.

More Support

Casino operators have continued to show their support for the regulation changes as they see the old process of taxation as a tax on tax. Horseshoe Hammond Casino’s general manager and senior vice president, Dan Nita, commented that the casinos of the state are the only businesses in which the requirement is in place for the add-back tax, which is basically taxing a tax.

According to Nita, they are encouraged that the state is supporting the measures that will enhance the casinos ability to be competitive. According to Nita, all casinos in the state are going to transition from the $3 admission tax per person to the supplemental wagering tax. State Senator Linda Lawson, a representative of Hammond, has shown support for the bill as well stating the city will not be hurt due to the tax changes.

Blue Chip is in approval of the changes as they were hit hard financially due to the admissions tax. Every time a person was to walk into the venue, the casino was hit with the tax. Improvements were made years ago to the venue in order to try to come up with more revenues to supplement this charge, including a new hotel and events center.

According to Strow, the changes will allow the casino to be more stable when it comes to taxes. Future success will be ensured for the state as more money will be available for reinvestments instead of paying tax upon tax.

Ameristar Casino spokesman Troy Stremming also reiterated the support for the bill, stating that the modernization of the admission tax and the add-back tax were important to the gaming venue. The admissions tax was considered neutral as far as revenues were concerned for the venue but it was cumbersome to count guests as they arrive. The shift to gross gaming revenue percentages will be much more conducive to the daily operations of the company.

Stremming further stated that the add-back tax was unfair as gaming revenue was being paid for twice. Now the tax situation will be more streamlined and work better for those involved in the gaming industry.

So for now, operators of gaming in the state are quite happy with the overall changes to the taxation of their industry. For once, everyone is in agreement, casino operators and government official alike!