Polk County leaders have voted to move forward with a plan to add table games at Prairie Meadows. New state law allows the race track casinos in Altoona, Council Bluffs and Dubuque to add table games. On Tuesday, Polk County Supervisors approved a one-million dollar renovation plan for Prairie Meadows, and it calls for adding 33 table games to the casino’s 15-hundred slot machines. Polk County Board of Supervisors chairman John Mauro (marr’-oh) says he and other board members voted for the expansion to protect Polk County taxpayers, the owners of Prairie Meadows. Mauro says consultants say “there’s more business out there to be had,” and Polk County leaders need to make sure Prairie Meadows remains competitive. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission must approve the addition of table games, once Prairie Meadows pays the state a one-time fee of 10-million. Mauro estimates it’ll be several months before patrons would see roulette, Black Jack and other table games at Prairie Meadows. Mauro expects the expansion and addition of table games to be complete by year’s end. Profits from Prairie Meadows are helping to finance the Iowa Events Center sports arena in downtown Des Moines, and Mauro admits there’s talk of getting more gambling dollars for Polk County by asking state regulators to license a new riverboat in Des Moines. Mauro says there’ll be an effort to “make that happen” but he’s not sure how it’ll turn out. Mauro says gambling’s here to stay, and if a new riverboat casino in Des Moines would ensure Polk County taxpayers won’t see a property tax increase, he’ll back it.
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