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

Up the casino without a paddle

I'm not quite following the reasoning in this editorial claiming that "Moving to land is not an expansion":

IndianaGov. Mike Pence called on lawmakers Tuesday to not expand gambling on the state riverboats, even as growth of Ohio and Illinois gambling establishments increases pressure to be more competitive. Unfortunately, Pence apparently counts as expansion a legislative proposal to allow Indiana casinos to move onto land.

Indeed, Casino Aztar officials said recently that if the legislation were to pass, they would build an on-land facility on the Evansville riverfront. Such a move would allow the casino — Indiana’s oldest — to avoid the cost of maintaining an operational riverboat, even though it does remain docked for gambling.

The bill has some flawed tax changes, but the provision for on-land gambling would allow the Evansville boat to be more competitive.

Pence called for a defeat of the bill, saying he does not support an expansion of gambling in Indiana. But as we see it, switching from a riverboat to a nearby on-land facility is not an expansion. The on-land facility would be required to be located within the 20-acre Aztar footprint on the riverboat.

But if the move allows the casino to "be more competitive," that means it will attract more customers, right? More customers mean more money spent on gambling. In what way is that not an expansion of gambling? Just what definition are they using?