Of 48 states with gaming, Indiana ranks sixth in reliance on its revenues, according to a report by the Rockefeller Institute on Government. When it comes to casino-related income, we rank second behind only Nevada.
Yet there are signs the gravy train is ending. Our lottery profits from ticket sales dropped 17.5 percent in fiscal 2009, more than any other state's. Casino revenues rose but only because of 2,000 new slot machines at two horse tracks; profits mostly fell at the 11 riverboat casinos and a few are in danger of defaulting on debt.
At a recent legislative hearing, casino owner Don Barden made a plea for state assistance. Gambling is here to stay, he said. The industry is a major employer and source of state revenue. So shouldn't Indiana do all it can to maximize its assets?
That's right: the industry some want to use here in Kentucky to bail out government is asking our neighbor state for a bail out.