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Best of Howard Stutz

Gaming Guru

Howard Stutz

Iowa's governor wants four new casinos

8 March 2010

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Iowa Gov. Chet Culver is asking gaming regulators to approve four new casinos in the state that already has 17 riverboat casinos and two casinos operated by American Indian tribes.

The move is tricky, according to an article in the Des Monies Register. The five Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission members serve at the pleasure of the governor and can be replaced at any time.

The governor wants the casinos because they would create hundreds of jobs. Also voters in each of the four counties approved ballot measures to authorize casinos.

"It's important that Iowans know that I want to bring these jobs to Lyon, Webster, Wapello and Tama counties," Culver said at a news conference. "The economic impact of these jobs would be enormous, bringing in more than a quarter of a billion dollars in economic activity and far more in additional indirect spending."

Gambling opponents believe Iowa, one of the first states to legalize riverboat gaming in the 1990s, has enough casinos.

Union Gaming Group Principal Bill Lerner said the four new casinos are located in rural areas of Iowa and would have limited impact on current casino operations.

Lerner said the projects would be relatively small with development costs ranging from $40 million to $120 million.