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Bar owners in Indiana have been upset since they lost a chance to allow electronic gambling machines in their establishments. The General Assembly shot that idea down.

Now, those same bar owners, after months of lobbying, might just end up being allowed to offer gambling after all. The state Senate voted today 26-21 to allow pull tab in bars and taverns.

The bar owners will not get off completely free in the deal. Any bar that wants to sell the pull tabs will have to pay a $250 licensing fee.

The Bill has already passed in the House. Although both the House and the senate have both passed the Bill, it will still be some time before the gambling will start in the bars. There is a difference in the versions that both passed, meaning they will have to negotiate to figure out how the final Bill will be put into law.

Among the items that still need to be worked out is the issue of who will regulate the gambling. The current Bill has the Alcohol and Beverage Commission regulating. There is a sentiment among lawmakers, however, that the Gaming Commission should regulate the pull tabs.

Bar owners, nonetheless, will be happy with the results of today’s vote. “All they’re asking is for a fair, level playing field, that’s all. They ask so little and I think we need to respond,” said Jim Arnold, State Senator from LaPorte.

The fair playing ground comment is a reference to the General Assembly last year allowing fraternal organizations and clubs to sell the pull tabs.

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