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Status of Gambling Laws - Part 2: Georgia - Maine30 January 2002
The following are American jurisdictions having recent activity concerning legal gambling.
* States and territories with gaming devices are marked with an asterisk: *
! States with at least one casino (defined as having both banking card games and slot-like machines) are marked with an exclamation point: !
GEORGIA - Gov. Roy Barnes signed legislation requiring that all video poker machines, which were not supposed to give cash payouts, be removed from all public places by Jan. 1, 2002. Three gaming ships were sailing into international waters (three miles out) for day-trips-to-nowhere, but may be sunk by state law. Georgia's State Lottery is a model for the rest of the country. The state also has charity bingo and raffles. The Kialegees in Oklahoma want to return to their traditional land and open a casino. This will not happen, because the Governor and Secretary of Interior would have to approve.
HAWAII All gambling is outlawed, but each year dozens of bills are introduced to legalize casinos or a State Lottery. A proposal for the state's employee retirement system and Office of Hawaiian Affairs to own a casino in Las Vegas aroused strong opposition. The Legislature may eventually approve casinos on cruise ships. In Dec. 2000, Congress amended the Johnson Act to prohibit casinos on "a voyage or a segment of a voyage that begins and ends in the State of Hawaii."
* IDAHO - The state constitution was amended in 1992 to specifically prohibit casino games with one target in mind: Indian casinos. Now the tribes are fighting back with a proposed initiative. In March 2001, the State Legislature refused to ratify Gov. Dirk Kempthorne's compacts with three tribes, meaning a federal court will decide whether gaming machines are allowed. (My prediction: The court will rule video pull-tabs are forbidden slot machines.) The State Senate also passed an emergency bill requiring legislative approval of any new compacts. Some tribes are operating gaming devices anyway, without compacts. The Coeur d'Alenes, after losing court battles, closed their Internet lottery. The tribe now has a 65,000 square foot non-casino casino, with bingo, 1,400 (soon to be 1,700) gaming machines (allegedly Class II Video Pull-Tabs), blackjack played with lottery cards, and mechanical horse races. Bars in Treasure Valley began removing gaming devices in May 2001, after an adverse court ruling.
!* ILLINOIS - All nine operating riverboat casinos ceased sailing within 24 hours of Gov. Ryan's signing a bill eliminating the requirement that riverboats actually cruise. Gaming revenue increased dramatically and some boats will soon be replaced with much larger boats-in-a-moat. The casino tax rate, 30.9%, is the highest in the nation, but gubernatorial candidate Paul Vallas wants it raised to 45%. The state's troubled racing industry gets 15% of the casinos' adjusted gross revenue ($1.7 billion in 2000). "Phantom voyages" continue, but the Legislature may let the boats keep their doors open all the time. Cook County can now have a boat-in-a-moat casino. Rosemont has been chosen, a short drive from O'Hare Airport. The constitution was amended in 1990 to allow the Legislature to authorize up to ten riverboat casinos, each with a maximum of 1,200 gaming positions. There is constant political pressure to expand, especially with 3,500 gaming positions authorized but unused. A state senator has proposed slots at O'Hare and VLTs in bars. The House passed a bill in March 2001 outlawing campaign contributions from casinos and racetracks.
!* INDIANA - Legislative leaders may approve a voter referendum, over the opposition of Gov. Bob Taft, to let seven of Ohio's horse racing tracks install video gaming machines. Earlier, the Senate Rules Committee killed a bill, approved by the House, which would have allowed riverboats to operate casinos while docked, and would also have authorized electronic pull-tab machines (slot machines which cash out with paper tickets) at Hoosier Park racetrack and its OTBs. Riverboat casinos opened in 1995, after the State Supreme Court held the law constitutional. The Legislature authorized 11, but the federal government will not allow a boat on Patoka Lake. The ten riverboat casinos took in $1.7 billion in 2000. Boats on the Ohio River can only move a few feet, for fear of trespassing into Kentucky. Riverboat admission charges help subsidize the state's horse racing industry. The Pokagon band of Potawatomi Indians is trying to open a land-based casino in north-central Indiana, and Indiana Legislative Insight reports the Miami Indians have a "fairly low-key effort" to put a casino in western Indiana. A study released in 1999 found gambling, including the heavily-taxed casinos, are the state's fifth largest source of revenue. The Senate voted to allow candidates to accept contributions from casino owners, but the House of Representatives killed it by a 2 to 1 vote.
!* IOWA - Slots are legal at one horse and two dog tracks, in three Indian casinos and on ten riverboat casinos -- gambling is the state's fourth largest source of income. Racinos pay a 30% tax, which is set to rise to 36%; riverboat casinos pay 20%. Gross gaming revenue is close to $1 billion a year. The Racing and Gaming Commission passed regulations which prohibited casinos from expanding, banned credit card cash advances and barred new licenses. Gov. Vilsack fired most of the Commissioners for going beyond the authority delegated them by the Legislature. But the Senate and House could not agree on what changes should be made, so the governor let the regulations stand. Suit was filed to keep the ATMs, and a court ruled the Commission had exceeded its authority. Rules are being promulgated to allow ATMs in non-gaming areas. The Senate killed a proposal for a five-year moratorium, which would have been like money from heaven for existing operators. Only the State Lottery, not charities, can sell pull-tabs.
!* KANSAS - A bill to allow VLTs at dog and horse tracks will be reintroduced, again. Tribes operate four casinos, under compacts, at White Cloud, Mayetta, Horton and Powhattan. Although the compacts were reported to exclude electronic gaming devices, tribal casinos have slots and video poker machines, as well as table games. The Delaware Tribe, forcibly removed to Oklahoma around 1868 but with no reservation, wants to move back to Lawrence and open a casino. In a highly questionable move, the U.S. Dept. of Interior approved a casino for the Miami Tribe, despite vocal opposition from Gov. Graves. The state has filed suit. Camptown Greyhound Park closed, again; but if slots for tracks is approved by the 2002 legislature, it may reopen. In Summer 2000, Greyhound Park in Wichita opened a drive-through betting window. The Legislature is expected to renew the State Lottery in 2001, which would otherwise expire in 2002.
KENTUCKY - Gov. Patton has proposed, but not endorsed, that the state own, but not operate, up to 14 small-scale casinos on its borders, on a local-option basis. A state-commissioned independent study instead recommended eight casinos near major cities. The Legislature is considering VLTs and casino gaming to save the state's racetracks, facing competition from neighboring states' riverboat casinos. A constitutional amendment is unlikely, requiring three-fifths of both houses of the Legislative and then a statewide referendum, because opposition from churches is growing. Kentucky charity bingo is bucking the national trend by growing despite competition from nearby casinos.
!* LOUISIANA - Former Gov. Edwin Edwards was convicted of racketeering for manipulating riverboat casino licenses -- I was designated an expert witness by the U.S. Dept. of Justice. On April 1, 2001, cruising not only ended, it became illegal for riverboats to leave their docks. In 2000 the State Legislature legalized telephone bets for races at the New Orleans Fair Grounds. Harrahs opened the first permanent casino in the heart of a large American city in New Orleans in Oct. 1999, four years after its temporary casino went bankrupt; it declared bankruptcy again in Jan. 2001, blaming the $100 million minimum state tax. The Legislature has eliminated "phantom cruises" (raising gangplanks on boats that don't move) overruling the Gaming Control Board, but raised taxes from 18.5% to 21.5%. More than 25 million visitors spent $1.8 billion at Harrahs and on 14 riverboat casinos in 2000. The Legislature is considering eliminating the 15th license presently allowed. Some State Senators want to tax the state's three tribal casinos (the state cannot tax a tribe). The Chitimacha Tribe has a new compact without the illegal 6% tax to local governments; instead the tribe is voluntarily funding a $10.5 million community grant, which coincidentally, equals the 6% it paid before. In questionable local elections in Nov. 1996, 31 parishes voted to keep video poker machines, 33 parishes voted them out. The problem: A state law prohibiting the video poker industry from pooling resources by forming PACs was declared unconstitutional only 17 days before the vote. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed. But state and federal courts have upheld the results anyway. More than 4,800 gaming devices were shut down, leaving about 15,000. Three more tracks are trying to get around the two-thirds vote requirement and add slots; Delta Downs wants 1,200. Truck stops now are limited to 50 machines, and they have to sell gasoline! A Senate Committee has approved raising the maximum bet to $20 on video poker machines in bars, restaurants, hotels and truck stops. The State Supreme Court upheld legislation raising the gambling age from 18 to 21.
MAINE - Charities can offer limited dice and card games, including blackjack. Some, illegally, also have video poker. A bill has been entered to make the machines legal. On Nov. 7, 2000 voters decided not to allow up to 1,500 video lottery machines at Scarborough Downs racetrack. A federal court ruled the Maine Land Settlement Act preempts IGRA, so, the state will not be forced to negotiate for Indian casinos. The State Senate defeated a bill which would have allowed the Passamaquoddy Tribe to run high-stakes bingo. A legislative attempt to put video gaming devices at the state's tracks faces a veto by Gov. King.
Gambling and the Law®: Status of Gambling Laws
©Copyright November 18, 2001, all rights reserved worldwide. Gambling and the Law® is a registered trademark of Professor I. Nelson Rose, Whittier Law School, Costa Mesa, California.
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