Monday, February 04, 2008

State may take a chance on pull tabs

Indiana lawmakers appear ready to expand gambling by giving bars and taverns the right to offer paper pull tabs.
The legislation would allow paper gaming -- pull tabs, punchboards and tip boards -- in Indiana businesses that are licensed to sell alcoholic beverages. The bill also would:• Limit games to be sold for a maximum of $1.• Require that $1 games have a 75 percent payout.• Require 25-cent games to pay out at a rate of 65 percent; dime games would pay out at 60 percent.• Charge a 10 percent excise tax on an establishment's purchase of the games.• Distribute revenue generated from the excise tax to cities, towns and school districts in that county.• Distribute two-thirds of the tax money to municipalities and one-third to schools.• Divvy up tax revenue based on population and enrollment.• Place the Indiana Gaming Commission in charge of regulating the games.WHAT'S NEXTThe Indiana House voted 62-36 to pass HB 1153 on to the Senate. The legislation has been assigned to the Senate Appropriations Committee. That committee's chairman, Sen. Robert L. Meeks, R-LaGrange, has signed on as a sponsor of the bill. A hearing date for the legislation has not been set.
Under legislation passed by the Indiana House last week, more than 7,000 bars, taverns and restaurants across the state would be allowed to offer the pull tabs and other forms of low-stakes gambling.
The bill now moves to the Senate, where it already has received support from some key lawmakers.
This marks the second consecutive year that state legislators have considered proposals that would expand gambling in Indiana. Last year, they voted to allow slot machines at the state's two horse tracks.
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