Saturday, April 14, 2007

Lawmakers Playing Price Is Right On Slots Bill

Jim Shella likens negotiations among lawmakers over the bill allowing slot machines at the state's two horse race tracks to the popular game show, "The Price is Right", at his blog. Shella writes:

The licensing fee for horse tracks is the key bargaining point. It started at $75 million in the House, then went up to $100 million. The Senate jumped it to $400 million and now the tracks are trying to bring it back down.

Sources report that investment bankers put the price at $125 million in meetings with lawmakers yesterday. Lawmakers need more than that to support property tax relief.

Will the tracks pay $200 million? Will lawmakers settle for that? When is the price right?

The answers will determine the success of the negotiation and possibly the future of property tax relief.

Indiana gaming law expert Ed Feigenbaum thinks all of the above may be too cheap. Feigenbaum writes at the Indiana Legislative Insight, "We also have heard from some that suggest last week’s surprise buyout offer of $675 million for the Resorts East Chicago Casino suggests that the slots at the track advocates are getting off cheap at $400 million."

Assuming lawmakers are foolish enough to allow slots at the horse race tracks this year, the decision at what to peg that buy-in franchise fee will determine just how rich the horse race track owners become. The opportunity and desire to reward compliant legislators is as pronounced as it ever gets in the legislative process.


Anonymous said...

I want to get in on this deal. I give the state $125 million and then turn around and sell it again for $600 million with the difference going in my pocket and the state gets nothing.

If we are going to have casinos at the horse tracks the licences should be owned by the state like French Lick with any proceeds from a future sale going to taxpayers not political insiders.

Anonymous said...

Didn't the horse tracks plead poverty to justify adding slots?

They are liars and cheats.

Their ability to pay a $100 to $600 million license shows how undeserving they are of anymore state assistance.

Anonymous said...

The willingness of politicians to support this expansion of gambling is astonishing.

Mitch Daniels need to fulfill his campaign promises and veto this bill.