Pharos-Tribune

State News

October 7, 2012

Alcohol, smoking and gambling issues may return to Statehouse

(Continued)

INDIANAPOLIS —

But Bosma warned that a bill to revamp the ban might not make it past the crucial step of getting out of committee.

“I can’t imagine there will be a rush to reconfigure it,” Bosma said of the current law.

  • Sunday alcohol sales: Backers of the effort to legalize the sale of carryout alcohol on Sunday are expected to argue once again that Hoosiers want to be able to buy beer, wine and spirits seven days a week. They’ll likely argue that Indiana is the last state with a Sunday sales ban. That’s not quite right. Indiana may have the strictest prohibition (no sales of carryout alcohol, but bars and restaurants can serve it by the drink), but there are a dozen states with some form of Sunday sales restrictions.

The Sunday prohibition is rooted in the old “blue laws” that banned all sorts of business on Sundays. But there’s a different reason now for keeping it in place: Indiana’s package liquor stores, which are mostly locally owned, worry they won’t be able to compete with the national big-box store chains.

So far, they’ve convinced legislative leaders to keep the Sunday sales issue at bay. “These are economic issues, right?” Bosma said. “I don’t think anybody treats them as morality issues.”

  • Expanded gambling: Gambling is both an economic and morality issue in Indiana. When the state legalized casino gambling 20 years ago, it restricted the growth of gambling, but regulated and taxed it heavily. The problem: Other states have since shed their worries about the morality of gambling and are now competing with Indiana for the gambling dollars that provide a billion-dollar revenue stream that helps fund essential public services. There are now more than 1,000 casinos in 22 states, including neighboring Illinois, Michigan and Ohio.

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