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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Keepin' us down, man

That casino Mayor Tom Henry wanted to snag for Fort Wayne? Ain't gonna happen:

A bill that would have allowed one of two Gary riverboat casino licenses to be transferred to northeastern Indiana fizzled in a Senate committee Thursday and is likely dead this session.

[. . .]

Senate Appropriations Chairman Robert Meeks, R-LaGrange, filed a bill that would have allowed one of the licenses to be transferred to Steuben County in the far northeastern corner of Indiana. Part of Meeks' district includes the county, which borders Michigan and Ohio.
Meeks' committee took testimony on the bill Thursday and then amended it so it would only let people in Steuben County and those in the city of Fort Wayne in Allen County vote on whether a casino should be allowed in their areas. The committee approved the amendment, but the modified bill then died when nobody would offer a second motion needed to vote on it.

Those rotten legislators! Now, Fort Wayne won't be able to reap the fabulous windfall from casino gambling and use the money to make the city a paradise. Like, you know, Gary.


Bob G.
Fri, 01/25/2008 - 11:48am

Paradise AND Gary...in the SAME sentence!

Now THAT was FUNNY...!

(gotta clean the coffee off the keyboard)



Fri, 01/25/2008 - 2:35pm

Don't worry, we have that Lower-tier Single-A baseball stadium that will draw millions of people to the city.

..just like the library..

..and the Grand Wayne Center...

A J Bogle
Fri, 01/25/2008 - 10:07pm

Indeed - I am tiring of this bizarre notion that somehow more gambling is the answer to all our problems. There is plenty of evidence to suggest in many towns that have now tried it that it doesn't work. Ever been to Shreveport? what a toilet, Atlantic City? All it does is increase organized crime, drugs, prostitution and prey on the weak willed and low incomes.

If gambling comes to downtown Ft wayne, its all the more reason to avoid going downtown

tim zank
Sat, 01/26/2008 - 1:02am

Do you have a better idea ?

Sat, 01/26/2008 - 1:08pm

Yes, and there's so much to do in Fort Wayne this time of year anyway. You can go to church or...go to church or...go to church or...stay home and pray. Or go to a bar or...go to a bar or...go to a bar or...stay home and drink.

So many choices!

Z Man
Sat, 01/26/2008 - 5:49pm

Whether or not you like gambling, Indiana's 11 riverboat casinos will generate $650 million in state tax revenue this year. I say the more the merrier, this is a solution for the property tax mess (and I don't have to pay a cent).

Jennifer Jeffrey
Sat, 01/26/2008 - 8:14pm


"Gary Mayor Rudy Clay and Democratic State Representative Charlie Brown have been strongly opposed to Barden moving a casino license out of Gary. Clay canceled a trip to campaign for Barack Obama in South Carolina in order to attend today's hearing in Indianapolis"

Word to WLKI from Mr. Meeks people was that he didn't want it to go anywhere because Mayor Clay didn't have the package together for the casino yet to compete with Ft. Wayne or Steuben County. He must have had enough pull to swat it down until their package was together.

"(INDIANAPOLIS) - A bill that would lead to the move of a casino from Gary to Steuben County pending a referendum has been scheduled for a State Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on Thursday morning. Committee Chair Robert Meeks of LaGrange filed the bill but he doubts it will get a hearing on Thursday. He told the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette that officials in Gary have yet to put together a financial package should one of the two casinos in that city leave. Meeks added he put it on the agenda just in case something gets ironed out because Thursday is the last day for committee meetings."

"I'm not a proponent of moving a license out of Gary unless the city reaps millions and millions of dollars in benefits," Gary Mayor Rudy Clay said.

"We're not going to give away a riverboat for a pittance," Clay said. "I'm talking about millions and millions, ad infinitum."

Clay said his administration will hold off on backing Barden's plans until more specifics are known.

"We're on the red button until we find out," Clay said.


"Barden, who has said he wants to consolidate the two Gary Majestic Star casinos into a single, larger operation, "is under the opinion we don't need two licenses at the current location," state Rep. Charlie Brown said.

Gary Mayor Clay wants to strong arm the owner into giving them money:


"Don Barden, owner of the two Majestic Star Casinos, spoke first, saying he would build a glistening new mega casino in Gary, and the city wouldn't lose a dime in gaming subsidies if lawmakers let him move his second license to northeast Indiana. He said he would make it "a win-win situation for all involved."

But Gary Mayor Rudy Clay told the committee his city wants no part of the relocation effort.

"We need these two boats," Clay said. "We need these jobs.""

Moving a license out of Gary could be viewed "as the Legislature taking away from Gary," said Brown, D-Gary."

Jennifer Jeffrey
Sun, 01/27/2008 - 1:32pm

Meeks says it isn't dead:


(INDIANAPOLIS) - Despite last Thursdays setback in a Senate Appropriations committee, Indiana State Senator Bob Meeks says his bill that would move a casino license from Gary to Steuben County is not believed to be dead. The committee, which is chaired by Meeks, adjorned without action on Senate Bill 135. Meeks points out it was not defeated in committee and therefore the concept remains eligible for consideration this session. The bill would move one of Gary's two riverboat casino licenses to northeast Indiana. After an hour of testimony on Thursday, Meeks presented an amendment stripping the bill but allowing for Steuben County and Fort Wayne voters to decide the bill's fate in November referendums. The bill did not receive a second and no vote was taken. It has gotten bogged down by a dispute between Majestic Star Casino owner Don Barden and Gary Mayor Rudy Clay who wants to keep both licenses in his city. Bardon says moving one of the boats would not affect Gary

Kevin Knuth
Sun, 01/27/2008 - 2:22pm

I agree that Gambling CAN lead to other problems.

But let's quit kidding ourselves- GAMBLING IS LEGAL IN INDIANA- the only thing we are discussing is whether or not Northeast Indiana should get its fair share.

tim zank
Sun, 01/27/2008 - 5:27pm

Worlds collide...I have to agree with Kevin Knuth...

A J Bogle
Sun, 01/27/2008 - 10:20pm

Like I said - this bizarre notion that gambling is the solution to all of our problems, feh!

Reduce our taxes - just like the lottery was supposed to right?

More gambling is the aboslute last thing we need.

A J Bogle
Mon, 01/28/2008 - 7:28am

In gambling there are winners and losers - and since the casino owners (and their organized crime ties) need to make money there are far more losers than winners. The pro casino lobby likes to throw around big numbers of how much they supposedly "give back" to communities, but the reality is they pull far more out of the community - the profits do not stay there, the communities need increased police and infrasturcture costing the local tax payers and so forth.

This is supposed to be a family friendly city, gambling is most certainly not a family friendly activity - people lose their, savings, cars, houses, jobs over it. Gambling creates a whole host of societal ills we do not need in our town. The costs of gambling is much higher than the alleged benefits - increased crime (petty and organized), drugs, prostitiution, alcoholism to name a few.

Face it Ft Wayne is not Vegas, and I am willing to bet most people here would rather it not be. When EVERY community has gambling does it become so diluted its so called benefits and draw becomes diluted? Detroit found this out.

If you really want to benefit the community - lets focus on birnging good paying jobs back to Ft Wayne, not just more service related jobs

A J Bogle
Mon, 01/28/2008 - 7:31am

Remeber how the lottery was ptiched and promised to reduce our license plate fees and pay for the schools?

If that were truly the case, how come we still have the highest plate fees of any of our neighboring states, and how come we had FWCS asking for a half billion hand out?

tim zank
Mon, 01/28/2008 - 12:37pm

Aj.. it cut our license fee's in half. As for the schools, they are not unlike our government, they spend tons of money on ass covering feel good stoopid stuff.

Mon, 01/28/2008 - 12:39pm

What's amazing is that the level of taxes is supposedly pushing people to the limit of what they can afford. And yet these same people can afford to lose a bunch of money at the casino.

I know, there's a difference between voluntarily opening one's wallet and dumping the contents at the casino and having the money forced out of the wallet by the government.

Personally, I think the government should run the casinos and at least cut down on the inefficiency of paying off the casino operators.