Mt. Vernon Register-News

CNHI Special Projects

April 17, 2013

Budget forecasters predict bigger drop in gaming revenues

INDIANAPOLIS — While a gaming bill is still in play in the General Assembly, state budget forecasters are predicting the payoff to the state from legalized gambling will be even lower than they thought.

The April budget forecast released this week predicts revenues from the state’s casinos and racinos will drop by $71.5 million more over the next two years than what those forecasters predicted just four months ago.  

And it may be worse than it looks, according to one of the chief budget makers who thinks the latest forecast low-balls the coming losses.

“I thought they should have shown a bigger drop,” said Senate Appropriations Chairman Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville. “I don’t think they show the true impact of what’s going to happen. (Gaming) has been a big revenue producer for Indiana, but I don’t think it’s going to continue to be.”  

Since the first riverboat casino opened in Indiana in 1995, the state’s gaming industry has poured more than $10 billion in taxes into the state’s coffers, becoming the third largest source of revenue for the state’s general fund.

But with rising competition for gaming dollars in neighboring states — including four new casinos in Ohio — the pool is growing smaller. While the two racinos (horse track-based casinos) have been holding their own, admissions and revenue at the state’s riverboat and land-based casinos are down over the last three years.

Austin frustrated

The state’s budget forecasters are now predicting a drop to $492 million by 2015. That includes a drop in racino tax revenues, from $117 million in 2012 to just over $95 million by 2015.

For lawmakers like Rep. Terri Austin, a Democrat from Anderson with the Hoosier Park Racing & Casino in her district, the latest forecast numbers are evidence that the General Assembly needs to act before the session ends April 29.

“This really paints the picture that we must do something to protect the state’s revenue source,” Austin said. “It’s our third largest revenue stream, aside from personal and sales taxes, and the state depends on that money at this point.”

Austin is part of bipartisan group of lawmakers with casinos in their districts frustrated that a gaming bill, Senate Bill 528, has been watered down from an original version aimed at giving casinos more flexibility to compete.

The current version of the bill, now caught in House-Senate conference-committee negotiations, prevents casinos from expanding their physical footprint and bars racinos from adding live table games, which would result in about 600 new jobs.

“This industry employs thousands of people,” Austin said. “So we’re trying to do two things: Trying to make sure we don’t hurt ourselves in unemployment picture and at the same time, keep our revenue stream as protected as possible.”

Republican Gov. Mike Pence, who wants a 10 percent income tax cut in the final budget bill, opposes adding live table games at the racinos, calling it an expansion of gaming he won’t support.

Lawrenceburg revenue drops

Ed Feigenbaum, publisher of Indiana Gaming Insight, said the downward revised numbers in the April forecast shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Numbers released by the Indiana Gaming Commission earlier this month showed Indiana’s riverboat casinos took another financial hit in March, after five consecutive months of lower revenues. The most dramatic: While a brand new casino in Cincinnati raked in $21 million in March, the Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg, 30 miles away, saw revenues drop by $9.8 million from a year ago, or 25 percent.

“That just confirmed everybody’s expectations,” Feigenbaum said.  

The drop in gaming dollars is due to more than just the new casinos in Ohio, Feigenbaum said. When the federal payroll-tax holiday lapsed late last year, the paychecks of wage earners dropped about 2 percent. “That left people with less disposable income, particularly those discretionary dollars used for entertainment.”

1
Text Only
CNHI Special Projects
  • The case for separate beds

    The other night I slept on a twin bed in the guest room of the house I share with my husband and our two kids.
    It was the best night's sleep I've had in years.

    April 17, 2014

  • Raw oysters spike U.S. rise in bacterial infections, CDC reports

    Raw oysters, so good with hot sauce, increasingly can carry something even more unsettling to the stomach: A bacteria linked to vomiting, diarrhea and pain.

    April 17, 2014

  • Low blood-sugar levels make for grousing spouses

    Husbands and wives reported being most unhappy with their spouses when their blood-sugar levels were lowest, usually at night, according to research released this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Missing a meal, dieting or just being hungry may be the reason, researchers said.

    April 16, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 12.51.22 PM.png VIDEO: Toddler climbs into vending machine

    A child is safe after climbing into and getting stuck inside a claw crane machine at a Lincoln, Neb., bowling alley Monday.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • portraitoflotte.jpg VIDEO: From infant to teen in four minutes

    Dutch filmmaker Frans Hofmeester’s time lapse video of his daughter, Lotte — created by filming her every week from her birth until she turned 14 — has become a viral sensation.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Victimized by the 'marriage penalty'

    In a few short months, I'll pass the milestone that every little girl dreams of: the day she swears - before family and God, in sickness and in health, all in the name of love - that she's willing to pay a much higher tax rate.

    April 15, 2014

  • treadmill-very-fast.jpg Tax deduction for a gym membership?

    April marks another tax season when millions of Americans will deduct expenses related to home ownership, children and education from their annual tax bill. These deductions exist because of their perceived value to society; they encourage behaviors that keep the wheels of the economy turning. So why shouldn't the tax code be revised to reward preventive health?

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Google acquires drone maker Titan Aerospace to spread Internet

    Google is adding drones to its fleets of robots and driverless cars.
    The Internet search company said it acquired Titan Aerospace, the maker of high-altitude, solar-powered satellites that provides customer access to data services around the world. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

    April 14, 2014

  • E-Cigarettes target youth with festivals, lawmakers say

    The findings, in a survey released Monday by members of Congress, should prod U.S. regulators to curb the industry, the lawmakers said. While e-cigarettes currently are unregulated, the Food and Drug Administration is working on a plan that would extend its tobacco oversight to the products.

    April 14, 2014

  • Why Facebook is getting into the banking game

    Who would want to use Facebook as a bank? That's the question that immediately arises from news that the social network intends to get into the electronic money business.

    April 14, 2014

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks