The top Republican in the Legislature wants the state’s Native American casinos to make “voluntary payments” to the state. Tribal casinos are currently exempt from paying taxes, but a recent Supreme Court ruling opens the door to fees for services. House Speaker-elect Christopher Rants says the licenses for the tribal casinos are up for renewal, and now’s the right time for the state to make some demands. Rants, who lives in Sioux City near the Native American casino in Sloan, says other states have gotten Native Americans to pay for services provided to the casinos. Rants is willing to make a deal to the tribal casinos: the state will continue its ban on table games at the race track casinos in return for “voluntary payments” from the Native Americans. Rants says the riverboats and race tracks would benefit from that deal, too, since the taxes on the state-licensed casinos will likely go up if there are no payments from the Native American operations.He says the legislature has to look at all the gambling entities as a package when they set standards, as they all impact the state fiscally.The Iowa Supreme Court recently ruled the state may no longer tax the land-based casinos in Council Bluffs, Dubuque and Altoona at a higher rate than the riverboat casinos. The decision could cost the state 140-million dollars a year.
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