Legislative supporters of gaming industry rally for bill to help racinos, casinos compete

Supporters want live table games

INDIANAPOLIS - The racinos in Anderson and Shelbyville began rallying support Friday for a change in the law they said would allow them to hire hundreds of new employees.

With two weeks left in the 2013 legislative session, the casino industry isn't doing as well as it had hoped.

The two racinos want to be able to offer table games with live dealers instead of computer-animated ones, and the riverboats want to be able to move onto land.

Legislation that came out of the Senate would have let them do that, but the House removed that language.

Customers at Hoosier Park in Anderson told RTV6 that live dealers would make it a better game, and the racinos believe that would help them fight new out-of-state competition for customers.

"I've been to Vegas," said one man. "A lot better atmosphere, a lot more fun. Versus, this is just a computer. There's no interaction."

"The social aspect of competition is far more interesting with a live dealer than a computer-animated event," said another customer. "See, I'm not even paying attention, and I lost."

Lawmakers representing Anderson and Shelbyville held a rally outside Hoosier Park.

They brought 600 silhouettes representing the people the racinos have said they would hire at an average yearly salary of $40,000 if they get live table games.

"We have lots of legislation that we pass, all in the hopes of creating jobs," said Sen. Tim Lanane, D-Minority Leader. "But I can tell you one thing. I know this is a jobs bill. You see the silhouettes in back of us, each representing a decent-paying job that we could add to this community."

Another player said he believes that blackjack players would get better odds with real dealers, not programmed machines.

"You go to real casinos with real live cards, you wouldn't see so many 20s that the dealers get here," the player said.

Even if the casinos get what they want from the legislature, they'll still have to battle Gov. Mike Pence, who has said he doesn't want this industry to expand.

Of course, the casinos say this isn't expanding the industry, only making it better.

The House will vote Monday on the gaming bill, but lawmakers supporting the industry said they will have to work through a House-Senate conference committee to get the legislation back in the form they'd like.

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