Indiana Governor Mike Pence allowed two gaming bills to become law without his signature while vetoing a third bill.
Pence allowed HEA 1540, which allows riverboat casinos in the state to move their gaming on-land. In a statement on Friday, Pence said that his position on the matter was consistent with the bill, believing the shift will allow the casinos of Indiana to remain competitive without actually expanding gambling.
He also allowed SEA 252, which “will increase per diem for Horse Racing Commission members, allows the Horse Racing Commission to use breed development funds to promote the horse racing industry, and codifies the current standards regarding days of racing as previously established by the Indiana Horse Racing Commission.”
“Most Hoosiers know that I oppose an expansion of gaming in Indiana, but I recognize that gaming has become an important part of the economy of many communities in our state and is an important part of our state budget,” said Pence. “From early in the legislative process, I made it clear that I would not stand in the way of reforms that would allow these businesses to remain competitive with surrounding states so long as it did not constitute an expansion of gaming in Indiana. HEA 1540 and SEA 252 meet this standard and, as such, I will permit them to become law without signature.”
However, Pence vetoed the HEA 1270 advance deposit wagering bill, which would have allowed residents to place bets on horse races outside of the four current off-track betting parlors and two parimutuel horse tracks, citing that the legislation is contrary to his long-time position against online gaming.
“Advance deposit wagering, not currently permitted in Indiana, would also violate my position on expanding gaming here in Indiana,” said Pence.
President and COO of Centaur Gaming and General Manager of Indiana Grand Racing & Casino Jim Brown said that HEA 1270 set forth a handful of measures that would have allowed the entire casino industry in Indiana to better compete with casinos in neighboring states.
“We are disappointed in the short term for our host communities. They would have benefited from the jobs created,” Brown added. “We didn’t feel replacing an electronic dealer with a live dealer was expansion, but others did. The bill is done, the governor is allowing the bill to go through, and we’re getting back to business.”
Brown also said that Centaur will be ready with its plan to roll out live dealers when the company can petition the Indiana Gaming Commission for permission in 2021.