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Casino expansion, Indy Eleven stadium get votes of approval from House

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Feb. 25, 2015) – Indiana moved one step closer to having live dealers in the state's race track casinos, as state lawmakers voted Wednesday to help  the state's suffering casino industry.

In a 75-18 vote, the house voted to allow live dealers in racing casinos in Anderson and Shelbyville. Riverboats also got a potentially lifesaving vote. The same bill would allow them to grow their operation and move on land.

Still some lawmakers wonder about the future of the bill, after Gov. Mike Pence expressed more reservations about the idea of live table games. House Speaker Brian Bosma also said he was opposed and thinks helping the industry would be a losing battle.

“I wasn’t a fan of putting and actually voted against, the amendment to put live dealers at the racetrack. It wasn’t just because the Governor thought it was an expansion, I think it is too. I think we’re in deep and I’m not willing to sell the state’s soul to get in deeper to be honest,” he said.

The House also voted Wednesday to help create a funding mechanism for an 18,000 seat, $82 million soccer stadium in downtown Indianapolis. The house passed the bill 73-21. The stadium would be paid for by tax revenue from the complex, with an agreement that the owners of the Indy Eleven guarantee half the debt from the construction of the stadium.

Both bills will require approval from the state Senate.

Lawmakers go back into session next week, but the Senate will have until early April to consider the measures.