Local lawmaker wants to stop required payments from Terre Haute casino to other cities

Casino News

INDIANAPOLIS – State Rep. Alan Morrison (R-Brazil) filed legislation that would repeal a requirement for Vigo County’s casino to make one-time payments to other communities with gaming establishments to help offset potential revenue losses from increased competition.

“Indiana casinos are already taxed heavily, with much of that revenue meant to benefit the communities they’re located in,” Morrison said. “It’s bad policy to force these gaming establishments to share profits with other cities. Competition in the marketplace is good, and removing these mandatory payments levels the playing field for everyone.”

Specifically, Morrison’s legislation would repeal a requirement that the licensed owner of Vigo County’s casino has to make three one-time payments to the city of Evansville to compensate for potential revenue losses to its Tropicana Evansville casino, and would repeal supplemental distributions to casinos in East Chicago, French Lick, Hammond and Michigan City. The gambling license for Vigo County’s casino was originally held in Gary, and legislation passed in 2019 required these payments as part of its move to Terre Haute.

Currently, the state requires the owner of Vigo County’s casino to make a one-time payment of $1.2 million to the city of Evansville within its first year of operation, followed by one-time payments of $900,000 and $600,000 for the next two years.

Under current law, wagering tax revenue would be set aside to provide hold harmless funding for East Chicago, French Lick, Hammond and Michigan City during for the first four years of operation. Amounts are determined by the state auditor using each city’s base-year revenue.

The bill has been assigned to the House Committee on Ways and Means for consideration.

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