Indiana residents can usually play at casinos, buy tickets for the ongoing lottery and even place wagers on horse racing activities. January 9, 2007, an organization of pub owners in the area is preparing to renew their proposal pushing for slot machines and video poker machines that will be placed in bars, restaurants and fraternal organization lodges.
Back in 2003, a study by the Indiana Licensed Beverage Association revealed that if slots and video poker will be allowed in about 3,500 places in Indiana, about $300 million in total tax profits for both the state and local governments could result. The idea has gained the support and backing of most people from northeastern Indiana, where a lot of gambling using “illegal” machines occurs.
Some of the main supporters of the law will be Rep. Win Moses and Sen. Bob Meeks, Republicans from Fort Wayne and La Grange. While a lot of legislators does not support the idea that the state of Indiana can gain more money from these expanded gambling activities, backers believe that the law has gained appropriate momentum because of a crackdown conducted by the Indiana Excise Police almost two years ago which failed to eliminate the gambling industry.
The situation in Indiana is that this slots and video poker industry has been ongoing even underground, where about 25,000 machines have made their way to convenience stores, bait shops and trailers, which have made it hard for police authorities to regulate. Authorities can only regulate the sale of alcohol and tobacco. David Long, the Republican Senate President pro tem from Fort Wayne, said that the crackdown has a downside, which is that it only drove these machines underground. Indiana could then try to make the law stricter or try to eliminate the machines totally or legalize them so that it could be regulated properly. Long added that some counties in the state do not possess the machines and a lot of lawmakers say that making them legal will just be a boost in gambling activities in the state.
In other counties like where he serves, these machines are just everywhere. Jim Bounds, a business owner in the area, sold his machines to avoid trouble with the law enforcers, but still supports the legalization of the machines. Bounds said that the profits that the money from these machines can be divided accordingly between the state and the small scale businesses in the state. Most business owners said that instead of banning the machines, it is more appropriate to regulate it properly. But groups that oppose gambling in Indiana said that it is not advisable to make the state a “whole gambling area”, according to Lorin Clementz, who is the coordinator of the Indiana Coalition against Legalized Gambling.