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IMS improvements, casinos become intertwined in latest bills

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Lawmakers advanced bills that will help the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and attempt to help casino owners feel better about using their money to do it.

The House Ways and Means Committee approved taking $10 million from Indiana’s two racinos and giving that money to IMS for $100 million in improvements.

The gaming industry has sharply criticized that plan, seeing it as taking money away from one industry to bolster another.

After the vote, IMS CEO Jeff Belskus said the Speedway has plenty on the line.

“As it’s structured today, we will be putting $2 million a year into this, along with the state’s $5 million loans. So we are committed. And that is in addition to other things we’re going on our own,” Belskus said.

In the Senate, lawmakers passed a bill giving Indiana casinos $3 million in tax breaks for the first year and up to $5 million for the second year.

Casinos and racinos still oppose the plan to share money with IMS and are pushing lawmakers to make more changes before final passage.