With one gaming bill already making progress in Indiana, Tim Phelps, spokesperson for the Indiana Amusement and Musical Operators Association, says it’s time to bring in a gaming change that can affect all Hoosiers.
“What we think is really important is part of that discussion is, let’s give every communtity in Indiana and every small business in Indiana a seat at this table So they can also benefit from gaming in the state,” Phelps said.
Phelps believes one way to do that is by legalizing video game terminals in Indiana, a change that has already gained support from legislators, including Representative Beau Baird who authored House Bill 1662, which would make VGT’s legal.
“Video game terminals are pay to play electronic video games that simulate common games that you might see in a casino like blackjack or poker. So they use a video display and they’ll award lucky patrons with free games or credits that are often redeemed for cash,” Phelps said.
Phelps says according to a recent study by Union Gaming, these terminals could create over $100 million in revenue during their first year.
Matthew Pflueger, the owner of Circle P Saloon in Brazil says his bar brought in around $18,000 in revenue last year using a type two gaming license for pull tabs. He believes the introduction of video gaming terminals in Indiana would help his business even more.
“We really believe that it could add anywhere from 25 to 30 percent revenue with my business, which is very very substantial,” Pflueger said.
Pflueger says by adding revenue, several important changes can be made to his bar including creating more jobs.
“The Circle P Saloon is really going to increase like the size of my kitchen, so I can hire more employees. Eventually get the bar open at 11 a.m. instead of three,” Pflueger said.
In addition to brining in more money and jobs for his small business, Pflueger says he is excited for what this could mean for Indiana as a whole.
“For unemployment rates and just really a wider tax base for the state of Indiana,” Pflueger said.
Phelps says that he has not only seen support from bar owners but also from veteran’s organizations such as the VFW.
The study done by Union Gaming estimates that 32,000 jobs would be created or retained by the legalization of VGT’s.