News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Breaking News

News

April 19, 2013

Snake eyes for Indiana

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.  

The quicker-than-expected plunge in gaming revenues is critical as the General Assembly crafts its final biennial budget and debates a watered-down gaming bill that was supposed to the buffer the state’s casinos from growing competition.

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, a Republican from 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.

The state’s budget forecasters have been preparing for the loss. In their December 2012 forecast prepared for the budget makers in the General Assembly, they estimated overall gaming revenues would drop from about $567 million in fiscal year 2013 to just more than $520 million by the 2015 fiscal year.

Four months later, in the April forecast used in the final budget bill negotiations, estimates are more grim: they’re 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 and Casino in her district, the latest number forecasts are evidence that the General Assembly needs to act this session, before it 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 the 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.

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. Most dramatically, 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.  

More than new, competing casinos in Ohio are at play in the drop in gaming dollars, 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.”

For Feigenbaum, the April budget forecast prompts the question: When will the state start to wean itself off the gaming tax dollars?

“We’re not going to be able to rely on them to the extent we did before,” he said. “Even if we expand gaming — in whatever form that takes — it’s not going to be possible to regain that kind of revenue again.”

Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers, the parent company of the Tribune-Star. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@

indianamediagroup.com.


 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
News
  • Body found in trailer identified as Vermillion County man

    Authorities have identified the person whose body was discovered last month in a trailer that had recently been moved from Vermillion County. Indiana State Police, using DNA testing, identified the body as that of Shane L. Sowers, 41, whose last known address was on North Sixth Street in Clinton

    July 22, 2014

  • MET072114bridge arch.jpg Troubled bridge over water

    For years, the iconic, arched foot-bridge at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College had been the backdrop for pictures of newlyweds, prom-goers and Woodsies.

    July 21, 2014 5 Photos

  • Pool construction bids, principals approved

    After more than a year of discussion, debate and planning, work on the new Vigo Schools Aquatic Center at Voorhees Park is expected to begin today.

    July 21, 2014

  • MET 072114 CREATIVE LAUNCH.jpg ‘Launch’ pad for creativity

    In an effort to foster entrepreneurs to begin and grow their ideas into a start-up business in Vigo County, “Launch Terre Haute” will host a co-work open house Wednesday.

    July 21, 2014 4 Photos

  • MET 072114 COFFEE SHOP.jpg Gelato at 12 Points

    Coffee and gelato are now on the menu on Terre Haute’s north side.

    July 21, 2014 5 Photos

  • Man pulled from Raccoon Lake

    Indiana Conservation divers recovered a Veedersburg man reportedly submerged Monday afternoon at Raccoon Lake in Parke County.

    July 21, 2014

  • Mall evacuated after bomb threat

    The Meadows Shopping center was evacuated about 5 p.m. Monday after police received a report of an alleged bomb threat.

    July 21, 2014

  • UPDATE: Faulty brakes blamed for bus crash

    Police in Knoxville, Tenn., confirmed Monday that a Clay County church bus involved in a fatal crash last week had faulty brakes.

    July 21, 2014

  • Police in Indy nab 2nd suspect in homicide case

    A second man has been arrested in connection with a homicide in Greene County. The Indiana State Police confirmed that Jason Lee Caldwell, 35, was arrested Monday morning by Indianapolis police.

    July 21, 2014

  • Police credit public tips for meth lab bust

    Tips from the community helped lead to the arrest of a Terre Haute woman on charges including the manufacture and possession of methamphetamine.

    July 21, 2014

  • Vigo County Council OKs tax abatements

    Two companies received final approval from the Vigo County Council Monday for 10-year real and personal property tax abatements.

    July 21, 2014

  • broadwaycrash.JPG Police: Brakes on church bus involved in fatal crash were faulty

    Investigators confirmed there was a problem with the brakes on a Clay County church bus involved in a fatal accident last week in Knoxville, Tenn.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • MET 072014 BREEZY RIDERS.jpg Tour de force

    Pedal by pedal, a group of cyclists endured the hot summer sun and braved varying Indiana terrain on a mission to support survivors of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.

    July 20, 2014 6 Photos

  • MET 072014 DREAM HOUSE EXT.jpg Living in a dream

    “Welcome to the dream home!”
    These were the words that greeted guests on Sunday as they entered a white, two-story home on the east side of Terre Haute.

    July 20, 2014 8 Photos

  • Lake Michigan Sunset 2.jpg MIKE LUNSFORD: Lake Michigan’s ‘Wonderful World of Color’

    Despite the beauty around us, Joanie and I thought of television as we sat on a gorgeous Michigan beach one evening last week.

    July 20, 2014 6 Photos

  • Kevin Caldwell.jpg UPDATE: One suspect in homicide in custody

    Police have taken one Greene County man into custody and the search entered its second day on Sunday for the other suspect, both wanted on charges of murder and  considered “armed and dangerous.”

    July 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • STATE OF THE STATEHOUSE: Expiring term heightens the urgency of one lawmaker’s push for reform

    State Rep. Rebecca Kubacki had plans for her return to the General Assembly next January.
    The two-term Republican from Kosciusko County wanted to exert “full force” to roll back a law that prevents the children of undocumented immigrants from paying in-state tuition to attend state colleges and universities.

    July 20, 2014

  • Kevin Caldwell.jpg Wanted men 'armed and dangerous,' police say

    A police search entered its second day on Sunday for two Greene County wanted for murder and who are considered “armed and dangerous.”

    July 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • Moon Anniversary_Will(1).jpg Small step, big memory

    Terre Haute resident Rob Eberwein remembers  being “blown away” as he watched astronaut Neil Armstrong become the first human to walk on the moon.

    July 20, 2014 2 Photos 4 Stories

  • MET 071914 PRESERVATION.jpg Group working to preserve ‘The Grove’

    Tucked into a peaceful corner of northeastern Vigo County, the Lost Creek Community Grove has seen more than 100 years of gatherings.

    July 20, 2014 3 Photos

  • MET 071914 12 BICKERS.jpg 12 Points Hotel doesn’t sell

    No new owner stepped forward to claim the historic 12 Points Hotel on Saturday.

    July 20, 2014 5 Photos

  • School board to award aquatics center bids Monday

    The Vigo County School Board on Monday is expected to award bids for the new $9.8 million Vigo Schools Aquatic Center, to be built at Voorhees Park.

    July 20, 2014

  • Silverstein_Abe.jpg Terre Haute native pivotal in race to moon

    This week’s 45-year anniversary of the historic launch of the Apollo 11 mission propelled America’s space program and on April 20, 1969, kept a promise that Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology alumnus Abe Silverstein had made to President John F. Kennedy in 1961 to put a man on the moon within a decade.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo 4 Stories

  • Moon Anniversary_Will.jpg Buzz Aldrin: Where were you when I walked on moon?

    On July 20, 1969, Buzz Aldrin was “out of town” when the world united and rejoiced in a way never seen before or since.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo 4 Stories

  • Moon Anniversary_Will(2).jpg Celebrate 45 years since first steps on moon

    Now’s the time to get moonstruck.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo 4 Stories

  • Terre Haute resident Jimmy Lee Housley, 80, taking motorcycle trip across western U.S.

    Intent on accomplishing his goal of visiting 48 states by motorcycle, Terre Haute resident Jimmy Lee Housley Sr. set off recently to finish his quest.

    July 20, 2014

  • broadwaycrash.JPG Church bus in fatal crash to be tested Monday

    Brake work and new tires were reportedly part of the preparations made for a Brazil youth group’s travel to a Christian conference in Tennessee this week.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Health care company to cut 150 jobs

    Union Health System will cut 150 positions system-wide by the end of the year.
    The system includes UAP Clinic, Union Hospital in Terre Haute and Union Clinton in Vermillion County.

    July 18, 2014

  • MET071814 wil wendt:buckner.jpg ‘Gifted and talented’ ahead of the times

    Seventh graders today may not be assigned to write a 32-page term paper or read an 800-page book, but a selected group of talented seventh graders attending a Terre Haute junior high in the 1950s did.

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • MET071814 band pennington.jpg Music at the river

    Curt Pennington is the keyboardist for the New Age Jazz Band the group the opened the Community Band Festival at Fairbanks Park Friday evening. The music continues today, starting at noon and running until 9 p.m.

    July 18, 2014 4 Photos

Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Raw: MH17 Passenger Remains in Kharkiv, Ukraine Raw: Israel Hits Gaza Targets, Destroys Mosques Raw: Lawmakers Scuffle in Ukraine's Parliament New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die WWII Vet Gets Medals, 70 Years Late Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message Obama Offers Condolences at Dutch Embassy Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment ShowBiz Minute: Hoffman, Oberst, Box Office The Rock Finds His Inner 'Hercules' Israeli Aircraft Hits Dozens of Gaza Targets Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border
NDN Video
Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid Kanye West Tells-All on Wedding in "GQ" Interview Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Scarlett Johansson Set To Marry In August New Star Wars Episode XII X-Wing Revealed Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe Michigan inmates no longer allowed to wear orange due to 'OITNB' Adam Levine Ties the Knot Sebastian The Ibis Walks Beautiful Bride Down The Aisle | ACC Must See Moment NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Faces of Souls Lost in Malaysian Plane Crash 105-year-old woman throws first pitch Man Creates Spreadsheet of Wife's Reasons for Turning Down Sex 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success Rory McIlroy struggles, surges, wins British Open
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity
Real Estate News