News Local/State

Hays: Indiana Measures Wouldn’t Hurt Danville Casino


Illinois State Rep. Chad Hays says any changes to gambling in neighboring Indiana shouldn’t have an effect on a casino in Danville.

The Indiana proposal would reduce casino taxes, and let riverboat casinos move on land. Hays, a Catlin Republican, said there is a substantial portion of western Indiana that would still be closer to Danville than the ‘primary market’ in Indiana.

"Other than Indianapolis, you have to go clear down to French Lick, which again, is a fairly significant ways from Danville," he said. "So, I still think Danville remains a very attractive location geographically, and still has major potential for drawing business back across the state line from Indiana.”

Meanwhile, Hays said there is almost no chance Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signs a nearly two-year old measure recently turned over by Senate President John Cullerton.

But Hays said every new gaming measure being discussed for Illinois includes a casino for Danville, as well as Chicago, Rockford, and Lake County. He said new legislators from the Chicago area should help such a bill pass this spring.

An Indiana Senate committee Wednesday voted 9-0 to endorse proposals to make that state's gambling industry more competitive.

It is projected that casino tax revenues in Indiana could drop 15-percent over the next three years from what was collected last year, in part because of competition from states like Illinois.

Republican Sen. Phil Boots of Crawforsdville introduced a bill to allow Indiana's 10 riverboat casinos to move on land.

He said the measure would also stop a ban on live table gaming at the state's two racetracks, turning them into so-called 'racinos'.

"This is kind of contrary policy today today as we try to replace everything with a robot, and we're actually taking a robot and replacing it with a live person, which should increase our employment at the racinos somewhere around 650 people is what I've been told," Boots said.

Sen. Boots' bill would also do away with certain taxes, like the riverboat admissions tax and taxes on wagers made with credits given to gamblers by the casinos.

The tax eliminations would be made up with an additional tax on casino revenues.