Backers of the bill, including Republican Senate President David Long of Fort Wayne and Democrat Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane of Anderson, have argued that the legislation doesn’t expand gaming significantly but instead gives the industry more flexibility to compete for elusive gaming dollars. Along with gaming lobbyists, they’ve argued the riverboats would be the same casinos as before and that live table games at racinos would be replacing electronic poker and blackjack games that already exist.
But Pence doesn’t see it that way. Nor does Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma, who’s described the Senate-approved bill that’s now in the House, as a “pretty significant expansion of gambling in the state.”
Bosma has also said he “doubts the Senate bill will move forward as it’s currently constituted.”
Pence brought up his opposition to the gaming bill with reporters, after he was asked a question about the Hoosier Lottery’s new advertising campaign. The private firm that runs the lottery for the state has revamped the marketing message, focusing on what lottery players dream of doing with a big payout, without mentioning the long odds against winning. Pence said he hadn’t seen news stories about the new marketing message, which some lawmakers have described as exploitive and potentially harmful because it encourages gambling.
“I’ve never bought a lottery ticket,” Pence said, before adding, “I don’t gamble on anything except politics.”