A key legislator says the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission should not “punt” but should instead decide on its own whether the commission’s moratorium on new gambling licenses should be lifted. All five members of the Commission said yesterday they’d like the Legislature to offer them “guidance” on such an important policy.House Speaker Christopher Rants, a Republican from Sioux City, says he’s surprised the Commission is deciding to “punt on this issue.” Rants predicts lawmakers from areas in the state which want casinos will try to force a debate in the Legislature. Rants says if the Legislature votes to lift the moratorium, it will “probably end up going all the way” and decide where new licenses will be located. On the other hand, there might be a “coalition of the UNwilling” that would include lawmakers from areas which already have gaming making alliances with lawmakers who oppose gambling. Rants says “it will make for a very sticky, very difficult debate.” Rants can’t predict which way things might end up. He says “that’s why you have a Racing and Gaming Commission…to render an impartial opinion.” Rants represents Sioux City, which already has a riverboat casino.
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