Pro-Gaming Groups Want Gambling Terminals Added to Bars in Indiana

by Kyle Miller

IndianaGroups that are pro-gambling in the state of Indiana are pushing to see gambling terminals added to local bars.

Across the United States, the gambling landscape varies. You may find one state that offers casino and poker gaming while the next state offers absolutely nothing. Each state has the ability to create legislation to adopt or ban gambling activities. While most states offer lottery gaming and some form of casino options, there are still states that do not have any form of gambling that is legally provided. In the state of Indiana, pro-gambling groups are currently working to see changes to the gambling landscape of the state to include gambling terminals.

Pro-Gambling Push

There are several groups located in the state of Indiana who are pushing to see gambling terminals added to local bars. The lobbying groups include:

  • Indiana Amusement and Music Operators Association
  • Indiana Licensed Beverage Association
  • Indiana Bowling Centers Association

These three groups and others are working together to call upon legislators to pass a measure that will legalize video gaming terminals in the state. Fox59, a local news site, is reporting that the terminals will essentially provide electronic video gaming options. Participants will be able to gamble on several casino games including poker, blackjack and line-up. These games are currently only allowed to be played in local casinos.

The groups are working together to try and convince Congress to approve the measure that would allow the terminals to be installed in several places including truck stops and bars. The groups have formed a coalition of sorts and drafted a bill that would see the legalization of gaming terminals in bars as well as bowling alleys, American Legion and VFW posts.

Terms of the Measure

The terms of the bill include that wagers will be limited to just $2 maximum and will offer a max payout of $599. Anyone under the age of 21 will not be able to access the gaming options. As of now, there have been no legislators to step forward and show sponsoring efforts toward the measure.

IAOMA’s Bill Smythe, commented on the matter by stating that the group is basically trying to create revenues for local businesses and communities with the video gaming terminals. This has been done in Illinois so the group feels Indiana would benefit as well. Smythe pointed out that Illinois is up to around 22,000 gaming machines that have created almost one billion dollars in gaming revenues. Of that amount, the state is able to take in around $300 million.

During the last session of legislation, the group tried to file a similar bill but Congress was not interested. Smythe feels that this time around, legislators will be open to taking a second look at the bill since they can see how much revenue would be earned via the games.

According to Smythe, the bill was adjusted last session to include 80% of the taxation to be applied to infrastructure of roadways and half of the amount will go toward the local community and the other half to the state. The process is simple, with taxes going towards what the state needs. The coalition has been talking to legislators, both republicans and democrats, in the hopes of seeing this latest measure be passed into law.

For now, the bill has to gain support within state legislature. For the bill to move forward, legislators need to show that they are interested and put the measure to a vote. This may happen or it may not. In the meantime, the coalition will continue to push for the option to be passed into law so the VLTs can be used to bring in much-needed revenues for the state.