The 2024 legislative session is underway in Indiana. Lawmakers are having discussions and making their proposals for what they feel is in the state’s best interest.
One topic lawmakers agreed to veer away from is the idea of legalizing Indiana online casinos. The leadership of both chambers agreed to pause any further discussion about it after certain members were accused of exchanging their votes for favors with gaming companies.
However, that’s not stopping one state representative from pushing for more gaming regulation. An Indiana lawmaker introduced a bill to alter current casino and gaming laws.
Rep. Alan Morrison introduces Indiana House Bill 1048
It’s only the early stages of Indiana’s 2024 legislative session, and lawmakers are already discussing gaming legislation. Rep. Alan Morrison recently introduced House Bill 1048 to the House Committee on Public Policy. The Republican said the bill addresses what he considers to be “various gaming issues.”
The bill provides financial protections for casinos, riverboat casinos or units of government when there are potential revenue losses by another unit of government. The measure would also remove a requirement for a licensed riverboat owner operating in Vigo County to make certain payments to the city of Evansville.
Furthermore, the bill repeals language concerning a supplemental payment to East Chicago, Hammond, and Michigan City under certain circumstances while also repealing the historic hotel district community support fee. All of these provisions are financially motivated and, on paper, would appear to make operating a casino easier in certain places in the state.
HB 1048 had its first reading before the House Committee on Public Policy. There is no telling if this bill has any chance of gaining traction. So, for now, there is no way of knowing if legislators will send it to Gov. Eric Holcomb’s desk.
Bill comes after leadership says no online casino bill in 2024
The fact that gaming legislation is currently being discussed in Indiana is pretty surprising. Last November, the US Department of Justice issued two subpoenas to former Indiana lawmakers because of corruption scandals with gaming companies. As a result, Senate President Rodric Bray and House Speaker Todd Huston agreed not to pursue gaming legislation in the 2024 session.
Senate President Bray was on the record about his feelings regarding the situation. He said the scandals hurt the institution’s trust with the Indiana people.
“It taints the Statehouse. It diminishes the confidence that people have in the integrity of the Statehouse,” said Bray in a statement. “It causes an awful lot of problems and it makes it particularly difficult to engage in that kind of policy.”
Bray’s remarks cloud indicate the bill could be tough to pass if it reaches the Senate. But Morrison introduced the bill in the lower chamber. If the House passes the bill, it could face tough times in the Senate.
House Speaker Huston did not publicly express his feelings about the corruption as Bray did. Furthermore, Huston was not involved in writing the bill. Thus, the bill could easily die in the House.