Mt. Vernon Register-News

Community News Network

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
Community News Network
  • Sharknado.jpg Sharknado 2 set to attack viewers tonight

    In the face of another "Sharknado" TV movie (the even-more-inane "Sharknado 2: The Second One," premiering Wednesday night on Syfy), there isn't much for a critic to say except to echo what the characters themselves so frequently scream when confronted by a great white shark spinning toward them in a funnel cloud:
    "LOOK OUT!!"

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • linda-ronstadt.jpg Obama had crush on First Lady of Rock

    Linda Ronstadt remained composed as she walked up to claim her National Medal of Arts at a White House ceremony Monday afternoon.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can black women have it all?

    In a powerful new essay for the National Journal, my friend Michel Martin makes a compelling case for why we need to continue the having-it-all conversation.

    July 29, 2014

  • Dangerous Darkies Logo.png Redskins not the only nickname to cause a stir

    Daniel Snyder has come under fire for refusing to change the mascot of his NFL team, the Washington Redskins. The Redskins, however, are far from being the only controversial mascot in sports history.  Here is a sampling of athletic teams from all areas of the sports world that were outside the norm.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • 'Rebel' mascot rising from the dead

    Students and alumni from a Richmond, Va.-area high school are seeking to revive the school's historic mascot, a Confederate soldier known as the "Rebel Man," spurring debate about the appropriateness of public school connections to the Civil War and its icons.

    July 28, 2014

  • Fast food comes to standstill in China

    The shortage of meat is the result of China's latest food scandal, in which a Shanghai supplier allegedly tackled the problem of expired meat by putting it in new packaging and shipping it to fast-food restaurants around the country

    July 28, 2014

  • wd saturday tobias .jpg Stranger’s generosity stuns Ohio veteran

    Vietnam War veteran David A. Tobias was overwhelmed recently when a fellow customer at an OfficeMax store near Ashtabula, Ohio paid for a computer he was purchasing.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 1.33.11 PM.png VIDEO: High-dive accident caught on tape

    A woman at a water park in Idaho leaped off a 22-foot high dive platform, then tried to pull herself back up with frightening results. Fortunately, she escaped with only a cut to her finger.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • CATS-DOGS281.jpg Where cats are more popular than dogs in the U.S.-and all over the world

    We all know there are only two types of people in the world: cat people and dog people. But data from market research firm Euromonitor suggest that these differences extend beyond individual preferences and to the realm of geopolitics: it turns out there are cat countries and dog countries, too.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bill Clinton coming to eastern Kentucky to stump for Grimes

    By RONNIE ELLIS
    CNHI News Service

    GLASGOW — Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes is again calling in the “Big Dog” in her quest to unseat five-term Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell.

    July 27, 2014

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks