Central Indiana's two racinos are looking for help, too.To me, a bailout is a bailout whether it's being funded with higher taxes or new gaming revenues. The mismanaged CIB is being rewarded for its bad behavior without any investigation to get to the bottom of its ten years of deficit spending.
Indiana Live in Shelbyville and Hoosier Park in Anderson have insisted they overpaid in 2007 when each gave the state $250 million for licensing fees to bring slots to their horse tracks. Both say they have struggled to pay down loans for the fees and have not ruled out laying off workers, reducing hours or even closing.
During the regular session, the racinos pushed for nearly $75 million in tax breaks to help pay their bills. The proposal passed the House, but it died in the Senate.
Rep. Sean Eberhart, R-Shelbyville, said the proposal likely is dead for the special session, too, because the state already is dealing with revenue shortfalls. But Eberhart is offering another solution: table games.
He said allowing the racinos to have games such as blackjack could generate $80 million to $90 million in additional revenue for the two facilities. As part of the deal, Eberhart proposed using the $20 million-plus in new tax revenue the games would produce to help plug the Capital Improvement Board's projected $47 million shortfall for 2010.
The struggling Indianapolis sports board has sought help from lawmakers to keep it afloat, another task the legislature likely will tackle in the special session.
"All of the other gaming facilities in Indiana have table games, and this would kill two birds with one stone," Eberhart said. "You're helping (the racinos), and you're helping solve a major problem for Indianapolis. I think it's a great idea."
It's an idea, however, that would qualify as an expansion of gambling, which Daniels and other legislative leaders have opposed.
But Rep. Terri Austin, D-Anderson, said she agrees with Eberhart that something should be done for the two racinos, especially if lawmakers help the CIB. Austin said she is still hopeful about granting the two facilities tax breaks.
General managers for Hoosier Park and Indiana Live casinos could not be reached for comment.
Meanwhile, a report on BleacherReport.com suggests that the owner of NHL's Vancouver Canucks is making a play to buy the Pacers from the Simons and move the team there. Tell me why I'm not surprised to read about this rumor at this time. Hat tip to Indiana Barrister.
Rumors are starting to spread that Francesco Aquilini, owner of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks, is reportedly expressing interest in purchasing the Indiana Pacers and moving the team to Vancouver, B.C.
Pacers co-owner Herb Simon are working as hard as they can to work out a new arena deal with the Indianapolis Capital Improvement Board and says he doesn’t want to see Indy without an NBA team.
Simon, could be using Aquilini as leverage against the Indianapolis Capital Improvement Board.
But former Sonics owner Howard Schultz also used Clay Bennett as leverage against the Washington State Legislature. And now the Sonics no longer exist.