Monday, March 10, 2008

Small-stakes wagers | The Journal Gazette

Small-stakes wagers The Journal Gazette:
"While Hoosiers have every reason to be concerned about any significant new expansion of legal gambling, the legislature’s decision to allow taverns to sell pull-tabs and tip boards is fair and acceptable.
The bill, which Gov. Mitch Daniels should sign, would put taverns back on even footing with alcohol-serving veterans organizations and private clubs, which received legislative approval last year to offer the small-stakes gambling. Some – perhaps many – taverns already offer tip boards and pull-tabs under the table, so it’s difficult to believe that legalizing them will create much new gambling. This legislation will allow taxpayers to receive a small percentage of revenues that the games already generate.
At the same time, the state will not rely too much on the unstable revenue. The state is expected to receive $5 million to $25 million a year – less than the amount from just one riverboat casino.
Lawmakers never gave a real hearing to the concerns of tavern owners after a state crackdown in 2005 ended the revenue from electronic slot machines that owners had come to rely on for many years despite their illegality. State government’s decision to enforce the law was correct, but legislators never really heard bar owners’ pleas to at least consider legalizing them. Giving tavern owners a small piece of the gambling pie is reasonable.
Still, part of the legislation allows raffles and winner-take-all drawings, a more questionable activity that wasn’t adequately probed during hearings. State regulators should closely monitor the drawings, and lawmakers should reconsider that portion of the law next year."
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