Friday, February 27, 2009

Pulliam's Downtown Casino Scenario

Russ Pulliam must be reading my mind. Check out this scenario he speculates playing out in the waning days of the General Assembly to help Mayor Greg Ballard and the City of Indianapolis deal with its bankrupt Capital Improvement Board:

Legislative leaders look for a way to plug the deficit plaguing the city's Capital Improvement Board, which operates Lucas Oil Stadium, Conseco Fieldhouse and other venues.

Casino owners in Anderson and Shelbyville offer to give back some of their slot machines to create a casino in Union Station. It might hurt their revenues at the horse tracks in Madison and Shelby counties, but they would still gain a foothold in the state's largest city. The city in turn would get a stream of revenue to pay for the stadium deficit. Union Station also would gain a new lease on life.

Pulliam thinks the odds are against this scenario playing out, but he adds that Indiana's addiction to gambling has been hard to reverse. It is, after all, only going in one direction. Please also take note of my recent post on the tangled web of conflicts for members of the CIB. A recent Ballard appointee, Craig Huse, disclosed an ownership interest in Centaur, the gaming/entertainment company which owns Anderson's Hoosier Downs and operates an OTB in the Simon-owned Claypool Court. Another appointee, Doug Brown, lobbies for Indianapolis Downs, which operates the horse race track in Shelbyville.

6 comments:

Paul K. Ogden said...

It's really hard for me to take the idea of an Indianapolis casino seriously. Pulllian has an interesting take on how it could happen, but even that's unlikely to garner more than a small minority of support in the legislature. Heck many if not most of the Indianapolis legislators don't even want a casino downtown.

Citizen Kane said...

Casinos suck money out of the community as they fill government coffers and divert spending from other recreational pursuits. The subsidized restaurants and entertainment venues within the city should be objecting to a casino as it would likely effect their profit margins.

And despite what anyone says, in no way is a casino a form of economic development. Casinos produce nothing! We have to stop allowing people to improperly label every project, building or scheme as economic development.

Even more so, to even be discussing casinos at the same time the legislators are proposing (did it pass) reducing taxes for casinos is beyond the pale.

Hamilton County GOP said...

Don't be so short sighted, Citizen Kane.

Casinos offer an enormous benefit to the economic health of the community.

Pawn shops, payday loan sharks, liquor stores and the private street adult entertainment industry (hookers) are just a few of those who thrive wherever there is a casino.

Let's not overlook the entrepreneurs who sell bindles or dime bags of relief to the pitiful casino customers who can no longer afford to house, feed and cloth their children because taxpayer subsidied casinos and racinos are re-channeling their pay checks to other important community projects, like the CIB and Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association.

Jed Clampitt said...

Why does everyone think that Union Station needs a "new lease on life"? Union Station has great private sector tenants and no longer has room for a casino without pushing those tenants out...

spooknp said...

Pawn shops, payday loan sharks, liquor stores and the private street adult entertainment industry (hookers) are just a few of those who thrive wherever there is a casino.

Two years ago I went out west for vacation. We were in Montana, specifically a stay over in Billings, Whitefish, and W. Yellowstone. In Montana, they have video poker machines everywhere. We played two of them, one in Whitefish, the other in W. Yellowstone. In most cases, no one was playing. In W. Yellowstone, there were like 10 machines in one store, only one guy was playing. Others were busy drinking at bars, eating food, or playing pool.

I don't see why we could do that here. The law could be very specific. All monies collected from these machines in the mile square would be put into a fund. That fund is only for upkeep on the CIB properties and a small % to pay for all the extra police it takes to patrol downtown during special events.

Reddi said...

Besides providing replacement funds for lost federal dollars, the casino scenario would rejuvenate Downtown Airport, which has suffered from decreasing ...