It looks like the Iowa Legislature is on its way to approving a bill that puts the decision on new gambling licenses back in the hands of the Racing and Gaming Commission. The commission voted in November to ask the legislature for guidance on the issue before removing their self-imposed moratorium on new licenses. Commission chair Mike Mahaffey says that’ll be the first thing they address.He says they now have to decide if they’ll lift the moratorium and what process to follow in terms of how many licenses to issue, and what the process will be for applications. Mahaffey, who is an attorney, says the commission isn’t mad that the legislature has sent the license issue back to them.He says he doesn’t know that they are upset, as he says it’s a major public policy decision for the State of Iowa — as we already have quite a bit of gambling. Mahaffey says the bill allows some expansion of gambling at existing facilities. Mahaffey says they’ll likely start the process of deciding on new licenses at their next meeting, which is June 10th. He says they’ll have to do that based on the information they have. He says he’s sure they’ll get information from those six counties that’ve approved gambling referendums, and from those who’re opposed to expanded gambling. Mahaffey isn’t sure how long the process will take.He says he really can’t answer that question, since none of the commissioners have been on the commission when there was expansion of gambling. Mahaffey says it’s probably like he tells his legal clients, it’ll probably take longer than people believe it should take.
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