Indianapolis airport considers wireless gambling

Oct 21, 2013 10:03 AM

Placing gambling machines at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas has been an ongoing success story for both Clark County taxpayers and entrepreneur Michael Gaughan, whose company holds a long-term contract.

The success has not gone unnoticed among gaming officials in other states. Consider Phil Sicuso, the former general counsel of the Indiana Gaming Commission, and his law partner, Joe Champion. They would like to see gaming introduced at Indianapolis International Airport but in a different manner.

Their plan, presented to the Indianapolis Airport Authority, calls for the establishment of several lounges in which travelers over the age of 21 could play games on handheld devices that are connected to a central server. 

Such activity, said the pair, would not compete with existing casinos because I would serve only travelers with tickets.

“That’s part of the reason we thought it was palatable,” said Sicuso. “It’s a completely new customer.”

Indiana’s lawmakers have been reluctant to expand gambling in their state, even though gambling activity in neighboring states has been cutting into casino tax revenue. 

Sicuso and Champion say the plan could be worth millions. Naysayers, however, point to nearby Wisconsin where the introduction of electronic pull-tab machines was expected to generate multi-millions of tax dollars. The effort, so far, has been a failure.

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