IND. VOTERS MIXED ON RIVERBOAT GAMBLING

IND. VOTERS MIXED ON RIVERBOAT GAMBLING

Voters in two Indiana towns and five out of nine counties approved riverboat gambling Tuesday, election officials said.

In hotly contested referendums from the shores of Lake Michigan to the southern tier of counties along the Ohio River, residents gave a mixed reception to the prospect of becoming the 31st state to allow casino-style gambling.A state commission will license one casino boat for each county or town that voted to accept the floating games of chance.

Parties were thrown after Hammond, Ind., voters' overwhelmingly supported the plan to have a riverboat casino cruising on Lake Michigan later next year. At least 1,400 jobs and $25 million in tax revenues have been promised to the former steel town of 85,000.

Nearby East Chicago also approved the referendum. Gary, a larger city with dozens of abandoned steel plants, voted two years ago for riverboats.

Two neighboring counties in northwestern Indiana, Porter and LaPorte, split on the issue.

Of seven counties along the Ohio River holding elections, four approved riverboats and three voted the issue down, preliminary results showed.

Clark and Floyd counties, both with large cities across the river from Louisville, Ky., a hotbed for horse racing, voted against gambling, as did Warrick County.

Church groups were particularly active opponents of the referendum.

The rural counties of Switzerland, Dearborn and Ohio counties, along with Vanderburgh county in southwestern Indiana approved the gambling initiative.