Gambling Bill "99% Done"

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Gambling Bill "99% Done"

Proposed deal would legalize sports betting July 1, live dealers at racinos next year

(INDIANAPOLIS) - A potential deal on a gambling bill would legalize sports betting in Indiana in time for football season.

Senate Majority Leader Mark Messmer's proposal moves Gary's casino downtown and allows one in Terre Haute. It turns Anderson and Shelbyville's racetracks into full casinos a year ahead of schedule, with live dealers allowed alongside video terminals starting next year. And it legalizes sports betting July 1 -- but you still couldn't bet on the Cubs-Pirates game that night. The Indiana Gaming Commission would still have to finalize rules for sports bets, including who provides the data to determine whether a bet is a winner. Messmer says the commission expects to be able to do that within a few months.

The bill would allow bets to be placed by smartphone, though they'd still have to be funneled through a casino.

The bill lowers a fee for the Gary casino move to $20 million. The House had initially proposed $100 million , then cut that figure in half. Messmer says other states have charged a fee when casinos move to what's expected to be a more lucrative location, but those fees have ranged from $5 million to $30 million. And Spectacle Gaming, which bought Gary's Majestic Star Casinos earlier this year, would receive a $40 million tax credit for surrendering one of Majestic Star's two casino licenses. Both the fee and the tax credit would be spread over five years.

Messmer says the bill is "99% done," but says there could be some final tweaks before House and Senate leaders sign off on the proposal and clear the way for final votes in the full House and Senate.

There's up to a week left in the legislative session, but leaders are hoping to adjourn as early as Wednesday.

(Photo: lucadp/Thinkstock)

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