Analysis finds majority of Indiana casinos owned by companies based in Las Vegas, three-quarters are owned by out-of-state companies
[Indianapolis] –The Indiana Senate is currently considering Senate Bill 528, which would provide a multi-million dollar bailout to Indiana casinos in the form of a variety of tax breaks. A new analysis of the ownership of Indiana casinos finds that three-quarters of Indiana casinos (10 of 13) are owned by out-of-state companies with few incentives to re-invest the bailout money in facilities and jobs in Indiana. More than half (7 of 13) of Indiana’s casinos are owned by companies based in Las Vegas.
Casinos were approved in Indiana to generate revenue for state and local government and to provide stable jobs for Indiana residents. Yet, in addition to the cost borne by the state, the bailout would cost counties and communities throughout Indiana around $40 million per year based on amendments approved late last week.
“We are trying to stress that we don’t want people to forget the workers,” Majestic Casino employee Jeri Elliot told the Post-Tribune earlier this month. “Just keep the money here in the state, and when you reinvest, reinvest in the jobs.”
Data shows that Indiana casinos have reduced jobs in recent years. According to figures released by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, during December 2012, Indiana’s “Gambling Industries” directly employed only 12,700 people – down 1,200 jobs from five years ago (Dec. 2007) and down 3,300 jobs from 10 years ago (Dec 2002), even as several new facilities have opened up.
As it is currently written, the casino bill would be a “blank check” to casino owners that could easily just shift the money to billionaire out-of-state investors with no benefit to Indiana. Instead, Indiana casino employees believe any casino “bailout” bill should ensure money is invested in casino jobs in Indiana – where the investment will reduce unemployment and help drive the Indiana economy.
UNITE HERE Local 1, Chicago’s hospitality workers union, represents over 15,000 hotel and food service workers in Chicago and casino workers in Northwest Indiana.